The San Francisco Giants have been spiraling downward for four-plus weeks and are having major troubles winning on the road.
San Francisco (70-67) lost the final three games of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres to fall to 9-18 over its past 27 games. Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Padres marked the Giants‘ 17th setback in their past 21 road games.
The slump has seen San Francisco fall into a virtual four-way tie for the NL’s third wild card with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs (73-64) are three games ahead of that pack in second spot.
However, Giants veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford isn’t overly concerned.
“Honestly, it’s no different than we’ve been doing all year,” Crawford said after Sunday’s loss. “We’ve been streaky all season. We were playing good baseball before coming down here. … It’s kind of on track with all year, up and down.
“This club does a really good job of not worrying about that, the roller-coaster ride of the season. Just turn to the next day and try to win a game.”
Chicago won 10 of 13 games before it was handed back-to-back walk-off losses by the Reds.
But the Cubs didn’t let the disappointments sway them on Sunday, as they racked up 18 hits during a 15-7 rout of Cincinnati to gain a split of a four-game series.
It was the ninth time since the All-Star break that the Cubs have scored 10 or more runs in a game, including four outings of at least 15.
Chicago scored seven times in the eighth inning of Sunday’s offensive showcase.
“I feel like how our offense goes — it starts with a soft single here and a soft single there, and then we kind of continue to put together good at-bats and it feels kind of contagious,” Cubs outfielder Mike Tauchman said after the win.
Tauchman was 4-for-6 with three runs and three RBIs. Ian Happ was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Cody Bellinger hit his 23rd homer as part of a three-RBI day.
This week is big for Chicago, as the three-game set against the Giants is followed by a four-game home series against the Diamondbacks.
“We are in control of our own destiny,” Cubs manager David Ross told reporters.
A solid pitching matchup is on the slate for Monday as Chicago left-hander Justin Steele (15-3, 2.69 ERA) faces Giants right-hander Logan Webb (9-11, 3.49).
Steele, 28, went 8-11 over his first two big-league seasons before putting together a breakthrough campaign. Steele made the NL All-Star team and is part of the NL Cy Young race this year.
He is 6-0 with a 3.09 ERA over his last eight starts. Steele has struck out 54 and walked 11 in 46 2/3 innings during the span.
Steele beat the Milwaukee Brewers last Tuesday when he gave up six hits over six scoreless innings.
However, he is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in two career starts against the Giants. Wilmer Flores is 3-for-4 with a homer off Steele, while Austin Slater (3-for-6) and Paul DeJong (3-for-8) also have fared well.
Webb is winless over his last five starts. He is 0-2 with a 3.69 ERA during the stretch and lost to the Reds on Wednesday when he allowed two runs and seven hits over six innings.
Webb, 26, is 2-0 with a 4.85 ERA in two career starts against the Cubs. Happ is 3-for-6 with a homer against Webb, while Bellinger is just 4-for-21.
—Field Level Media
Field Level Media