The Chicago Cubs begin a week-long West Coast road trip on Monday night when they take on the San Francisco Giants. This series is a rematch of the 2016 National League Division Series, which was won in four games by the Chicago Cubs. Both the Giants and Cubs have playoff aspirations in the 2018 season.
Both the Cubs and Giants are in a great position to effect the playoff race in the National League this season. The Cubs are in second place in the National League Central, just 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers. The Giants are currently in fourth place in the National League West but can make up their 4.5 game deficit in the second half of the season. The Chicago Cubs are -112 over the Giants in the series opener.
Baez Breaking Out For Cubs
Javier Baez has been a solid player for the Cubs in recent seasons, but he is having a breakout year in 2018. Baez was voted in as the starting second baseman in the All-Star game and is quickly gaining steam as one of baseball’s most exciting players. Baez has kept the Cubs in the NL Central race, and leads the team in both home runs (17) and runs batted in (65).
Veteran Kyle Hendricks will make the start for the Cubs in the series opener. Hendricks has struggled in 2018, after leading the National League in earned run average last season. Hendricks is just 5-8 with a 4.27 ERA, and will look to cool off a hot Giants lineup on Monday night. If the Cubs are going to catch the Brewers in the National League Central, they need Hendricks to be one of baseball’s best pitchers.
Giants Offense Coming To Life
The San Francisco Giants have struggled to score runs all season, but appear to be turning a corner as an offense. The Giants scored 13 runs in the series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, and appear to be turning a corner as an offense. The Giants rank in the bottom third in the league in total runs scored, but have a lineup capable of producing much more offense than that.
Brandon Belt has led the Giants’ offensive charge this season. Belt leads San Francisco in nearly every offensive category, and is proving to be one of the top shortstops in baseball. Belt is hitting .300 on the season to go along with a team high 13 home runs and 42 runs batted in. The Giants will need more production from their lineup if they are going to get back into the playoff race.
Hendricks, Cubs Win Series Opener
Kyle Hendricks has struggled for the Cubs in 2018 after being one of the best pitchers in baseball in recent seasons. The Giants are trying to catch the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West, while the Cubs are trying to take back control of the NL Central. Kyle Hendricks appears to have the huge pitching advantage in this game, and should lead the Cubs to a series opening win. Bet the Chicago Cubs -112 over the Giants in the series opener.
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