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The San Francisco Giants will clash with the Chicago Cubs as the clubs conclude a three game series Wednesday afternoon from AT&T Park. The Cubs will give the call to 29-year old left-hander Mike Montgomery, and the Giants will hand the ball to 26-year old right-hander Derick Rodriguez. The season-series is tied two games apiece.
Montgomery Charged with First Home Loss of Season
Mike Montgomery will make his 27th appearance and ninth start of the season, aiming for his fourth win of the year. Montgomery allowed three runs in five innings against the Reds in his previous start, and he was charged with the loss to even his record to 3-3. The 6-foot-5 left-hander is having an outstanding season, registering a 3.68 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 71 innings of work. Montgomery has posted mixed results in his 16.2 career innings against the Giants, allowing eight runs (seven earned) to go with an 0-1 record. Brandon Belt is 0 for 5 against Montgomery, while Brandon Crawford is 1 for 5, and Buster Posey is 0 for 5.
Javier Baez had a strong series against the Giants earlier this season, crushing two homers with four RBI’s in three games. The 25-year old second baseman has arguably been the Cubs’ best hitter this season, carrying a .292 average with 17 home runs and 65 RBI’s. Baez is off to a strong start to the month, hitting .355 with six RBI’s. The Cubs are red-hot offensively, and they have increased their season average to 5.08 runs, good for third in the Majors. The Chicago pitching staff is having a strong season, registering a 3.57 team ERA, pegging them seventh in the Major Leagues.
Rodriguez Shines in Third Straight Quality Start
Dereck Rodriguez will make his ninth appearance and eighth start of the season, hunting for his fourth straight Quality Start. Rodriguez came through with another solid start in his previous outing, holding the Cardinals to only two runs in 6.2 innings, leading to the no-decision in a 3-2 Giants’ win. The rookie right-hander is off to a very promising start to his Major League career, posting a 3.09 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP accompanied with a 3-1 record in 43.2 innings pitched. Rodriguez has only allowed three home runs in his eight appearances on the season. This will mark his first career start against the Cubs.
Brandon Belt is off to a strong start to the month after a quiet June, recording 13 hits with five RBI’s in his last nine games. The 30-year old first baseman is having a solid season, currently hitting .303 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI’s. Belt is 5 for 15 with two RBI’s against the Cubs this season. Belt’s previous career-best batting average was .289, and he could set a new career-high this season. The Giants are scuffling at the plate, and they are now averaging 4.11 runs per game, ranking them 22nd in the Major Leagues. The San Francisco pitching staff has been average, recording a 4.06 team ERA, placing them 17th in the Majors.
The Chicago Cubs are:
- 8-2 in their last 10 games overall.
- 6-1 in their last 7 games against a right-handed starter.
- 5-1 in Montgomery’s last 6 starts against the NL West.
The San Francisco Giants are:
- 4-10 in their last 14 games against a left-handed starter.
I am siding with the Cubs in this matchup. The Cubs are red-hot at the plate, scoring at least five runs in eight out of their last ten games, and they are up against a rookie starter. Furthermore, Mike Montgomery has been steady on the mound, allowing three or fewer runs in seven out of his last eight starts, and he has been sharp on the road this season. The Giants have scored three or fewer runs in seven out of their last eight games, and I am confident they Cubs pitching staff can silence their offense.
Pick: Chicago Cubs
Mike Montgomery features outstanding numbers on the road this season, and Dereck Rodriguez is in a groove on the mound for the Giants. Montgomery owns a stifling 2.09 ERA in 38.2 innings pitched on the road this season, and the under is 5-0 in the Giants’ last five games against a left-handed starter. Derek Rodriguez has come through with three straight Quality Starts, and the under is 11-4 in the Giants’ last 15 games overall.