Chicago Cubs vs San Francisco Giants – Series Preview (June 17-19): Overview, Game and Broadcast Info, Starting Pitchers, W2W4

The Cubs (34-38) lost two of three to the Cardinals over the weekend for their ninth series in the last 10 played against. The offensive woes that have plagued Craig Counsell‘s squad most of the season played a huge role in both losses and Chicago is now 17-29 since April 27. Another chance to change these troubling trends comes against the Giants, who are in town for three starting Monday.

San Francisco (35-37) has been hovering just below the .500 mark for most of the season. The hitters have posted a .703 team OPS, right in the middle of the pack at 15th-best in baseball. Big offseason additions Jorge Soler (96 wRC+) and Matt Chapman (106 wRC+) have been mediocre over the first couple of months, and their best hitter so far is first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr. with an .896 OPS.

The Giants have had big issues pitching so far with a 4.38 ERA, good enough for 24th in MLB. Things haven’t been helped by the fact that 2023 Cy Young Blake Snell, who signed at the end of spring training, struggled mightily and then was injured. Jordan Hicks and Logan Webb have performed well at the top of the rotation but the bottom spots have been a problem.

The bullpen is the stronger part of the pitching staff and boasts the Rogers twins, Taylor and Tyler, both of whom have ERAs under three in relief roles. Closer Camilo Doval routinely tops triple digits but a whopping 21 walks in just 27.2 innings have led to a 4.88 ERA.

The Cubs have been mired in mediocrity long enough at this point that it can’t be written off as just a slump. They have been scuffling for about seven weeks out of 10 so far this season. Nothing has really changed over that whole time, the problems with the bullpen and the lineup are still the same and don’t seem to be any closer to being resolved.

It feels like the front office has decided all they can do is hope some kind of team-wide regression to the offensive mean will turn things around. Dramatic moves aren’t really their jam, so options are limited. Even with a very weak National League and six available playoff spots, the North Siders are in serious danger of falling out of the race before July.

If you ask me right now, I think dropping entirely out of contention is the most likely outcome. Two more weeks of this kind of flat effort probably means curtains for 2024 and I’ve seen no evidence that anything is going to be different moving forward. If the Cubs want to prove me wrong, it’s now or never.

Game Time and Broadcast Info

  • Monday, June 17 at 7:05pm CT on Marquee.
  • Tuesday, June 18 at 7:05pm CT on Marquee.
  • Wednesday, June 19 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.

Starting Pitchers

Date Pitcher Age T ERA W/L FIP K/BB
6/17 Javier Assad 26 R 2.81 4-2 3.94 2.40
Jordan Hicks 27 R 3.01 4-3 3.66 2.67
6/18 Justin Steele 28 L 3.22 0-3 3.74 3.69
Logan Webb 27 R 3.02 6–5 2.73 3.90
6/19 Kyle Hendricks 34 R 8.20 0-4 6.01 2.07

What to Watch For

  • Ian Happ had four hits, including a home run and a double, against the Cardinals.
  • Nico Hoerner is 2-for-19 since missing several games with a hairline fracture in his hand.
  • Hendricks is being forced back into the rotation after injuries to Ben Brown and Jordan Wicks. He pitched well when he was pressed into duty against St. Louis on Friday.
  • Tyson Miller has given up just one run in 11 appearances for the Cubs.
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