MLB: Giants hope for better pitching at home vs. Cubs

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One team coming off a disappointing homestand encounters another glad to be home after a disastrous trip when the Chicago Cubs visit the San Francisco Giants on Monday night to open a four-game series.

The clubs met last week in Chicago, with the Cubs rebounding from an opening loss to take two of three. That was the highlight of their nine-game homestand. The Giants lost two of three to the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets during that stretch.

To add insult to fatigue, the Cubs had to endure a night game Sunday, which they lost 5-2 to the Mets, before catching a late flight that got them into San Francisco past midnight to kick off a seven-games-in-seven-days trip.

The Cubs began the day Sunday by unveiling a statue of longtime great Ryne Sandberg. Interestingly, they arrive in San Francisco as the Giants ponder how to treat the recent death of one of their legends, Willie Mays, who passed away while the team was on the road.

“Talk about a player that did everything on the baseball field,” Nico Hoerner said of Sandberg before getting the honor of starting at second base on the Hall of Famer’s big day. Hoerner responded with a single to lead off the bottom of the first.

“I think all of us want to be able to impact a game in every way; I know I’ve always set out to do that,” Hoerner said. “He’s someone who did that for his entire career, which is incredible.”

The Cubs are scheduled to start their trip with left-hander Justin Steele (0-3, 3.16 ERA) on the mound. He started the Cubs’ 5-2 win over the Giants on Tuesday, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings but settling for a no-decision.

Steele has no wins during a five-game stretch in which he hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any outing.

The 28-year-old has gone 1-2 with a 2.31 ERA in four career starts against San Francisco.

The Giants flew into San Francisco well ahead of the Cubs, but did so with severe pitching issues. They allowed five or more runs for the seventh consecutive time Sunday in a 5-3 loss in St. Louis.

The Giants went 1-5 on the trip to Chicago, Birmingham and St. Louis, winning just the opener last Monday.

“It’s not good. Not good,” Giants manager Bob Melvin said of the trip. “We win the first game and then we don’t win any after that. That’s a bad road trip. I know we’ve got a lot going on, but so did (the Cardinals).”

With four projected starting pitchers on the injured list, the Giants have scheduled a bullpen game for the series opener. Left-hander Erik Miller (2-2, 4.11), who struck out two of the four batters he faced in an opener role last Wednesday against the Cubs, is the likely starter.

The 26-year-old also faced the Cubs in relief last week, getting the win to begin the trip despite allowing three runs in 1 1/3 innings. He posted a 1-0 record and 11.57 ERA in those two games, his only career outings against Chicago.

–Field Level Media

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