Cubs @ Giants: Darvish vs. Bumgarner (Game 101)

CHC (54-46): RHP Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.46 ERA)
SF (51-50): LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-7, 3.65 ERA)
First pitch 8:45pmCDT

Yu Darvish was great in his last start against Cincinnati. He pitched six scoreless innings with two hits, zero walks, and seven strikeouts. It was his second scoreless outing in a row, with the first being a similar performance against the Pirates. Current Giants have seen little of Darvish. Evan Longoria (3-18) is on the IL with a foot injury. Steven Vogt is 7-26, all singles, with no walks. Sandoval, Posey, Pillar, and Crawford are collectively 0-10 with five strikeouts.

Cubs @ Giants: Mills vs. Anderson (Game 100)

CHC (54-45): RHP Alec Mills (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
SF (50-50): RHP Shaun Anderson (3-2, 4.87 ERA)
First pitch 8:45pmCDT

Alec Mills leads the Cubs against the light-hitting Giants in his second start of 2019. He went six innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits and one walk last time around for a no-decision. He's never faced the Giants, and as far as I can find no current Giants have ever faced him. There are no real offensive standouts this season. Buster Posey is not looking very Posey-like at the plate. Pablo Sandoval is back from the brink of retirement and slugging .495.

Cubs vs. Padres: Series Thread (Games 97-99)

The Cubs (52-44) take on the Padres (46-50) in a three-game set of matinees at Wrigley. The Padres are a thoroughly mediocre team, but they've played streaky ball since early June and have jumped up and surprised both the Dodgers and the Brewers during that time with three wins against each. The streaks have run both ways, as they've also gone through four losing streaks of at least three games during that period. This will be the first time the Cubs face them in 2019. Since last year, they've added Manny Machado. He's been good for them so far, albeit with a slightly lower than usual batting average for him. But rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. has been the offensive star, offering power, speed, and (thanks to a .430 BABIP) a high average. Hunter Renfroe also seems to be enjoying 2019--he just recently passed his previous single season high in homeruns and now sits at 27. Kirby Yates is enjoying a banner year out of the bullpen, leading the pitching staff in fWAR, striking out 14.36 per 9 innings and generally going untouched by the 2019 homerun boom. See below for game-by-game matchups.

Cubs vs. Reds: Darvish vs. Gray (Game 96)

CHC (51-44): RHP Yu Darvish (2-4, 4.72 ERA)
CIN (43-49): RHP Sonny Gray (5-5, 3.42 ERA)
First pitch 1:20pmCDT

Yu Darvish and the Cubs go for the series win in an afternoon finale. Darvish went six scoreless against the Pirates on Friday and remains winless at Wrigley. Derek Dietrich is 4-9 off of him and has tagged him for two homeruns. Jose Iglesias and Nick Senzel are 3-6 and 3-7 respectively.

Cubs vs. Reds: Mills vs. DeSclafani (Game 95)

CHC (50-44): RHP Alec Mills (0-0, -.-- ERA)
CIN (43-48): RHP Anthony DeSclafani (5-4, 4.26 ERA)
First pitch 7:05pmCDT

Bad news first: The Cubs dropped the first game of the series in frustrating fashion (no hitting with RISP, fielding errors, bullpen inadequacy) and Willson is going to the IL with a foot injury. In the meantime, the Cubs are sending Mike Montgomery to KC in exchange for Martin Maldonado. Caratini seems likely to get plenty of at bats and the Cubs will have the option to use him more in the pinch if they keep Maldonado around after Contreras's IL stint ends.

Cubs vs. Reds: Hendricks vs. Castillo (Game 94)

CHC (50-43): RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-7, 3.49 ERA)
CIN (42-48): RHP Luis Castillo (8-3, 2.29 ERA)
First pitch 7:05pmCDT

Coming off a sweep of the Pirates, the Cubs work to lengthen a 2.5 game lead in the division and a 6.5 gap between themselves and the last place Reds. Kyle Hendricks will make his first post-break start. His last two starts, both following his IL stint for shoulder impingement, have been abbreviated (the first by rain). Last time he was doing fine until former Cubs Jon Jay and Eloy Jimenez teamed up for the old bloop and a blast. Hendricks is 1-0 in two starts against the Reds this year, allowing four earned runs in 14 innings. Votto is 10-24 off of him with three homeruns. Puig is 4-12 with one homer.

Sunday Funnies. You can't spell "HADER" without "HR".

Brewer's closer Josh Hader gave up 2 homers the other night in an extra inning loss to the Giants, which brings his 2019 total up to 9.
That's also how many he gave up all last year.
Just a crack in the Brewer armor.
A disturbance in the force.
One of those things that can live in Hader's head no matter how much he may try to forget.

Happy Sunday.
 

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