One team looking to add and another looking to subtract will put their current rosters on the field for a second consecutive night with Tuesday’s trade deadline looming when the San Francisco Giants host the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.
Shortly after getting a vote of confidence from team management, the Giants snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Cubs in the four-game series opener Thursday.
Yermin Mercedes, an in-season acquisition whose roster spot has been rumored to be in jeopardy as the Giants look for improved defense to complement more productive hitting, delivered the big hit of Thursday’s game with a two-out, two-run single in the third inning.
“I do think it gives some guys a sigh of relief,” Giants outfielder Austin Slater said of comments made by general manager Farhan Zaidi that the team wouldn’t be broken up despite the recent slump. “You don’t have to look over your shoulder. You don’t have to worry about off the field. That’s a great vote of confidence.”
Veteran right-hander Alex Cobb (3-4, 4.26 ERA) will seek to give the Giants consecutive victories when he makes a rare start against a Cubs squad that saw a six-game winning streak snapped Thursday.
Having spent six years with the Tampa Bay Rays, three with the Baltimore Orioles and one with the Los Angeles Angels, Cobb pitched only in the American League and in interleague contests before signing with the Giants as a free agent this past winter.
As a result, the 34-year-old has faced the Cubs just once in his career, for the Rays in 2014, when he allowed one run in six innings in a 3-2 loss. He did not get a decision.
Cobb is winless in his last nine starts, going 0-3 despite a respectable 3.58 ERA. He is coming off a 7-4 road loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in which he did not get a decision after allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings.
One player Cobb can expect to see Friday is outfielder Ian Happ, who had two hits in the series opener, including a single to center field leading off the seventh inning that ended Alex Wood’s no-hit bid.
Happ is rumored to be high on the Cubs’ sell list. He took the field Thursday not knowing if his offensive production was going to help keep him in Chicago.
“I don’t want my Cubs’ journey to end,” he said. “It is hard from an emotional standpoint.”
Cobb’s scheduled counterpart on Friday, Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman (2-5, 4.38), is about as much of a stranger to the Giants as Cobb is to the Cubs.
Stroman pitched his first 5 1/2 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays before getting traded to the New York Mets in 2019. He has faced the Giants just twice, going 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA.
The loss came last season in San Francisco as a member of the New York Mets, when he served up home runs to Tommy La Stella and Evan Longoria in a 3-2 defeat.
The 31-year-old has pitched well since returning from a sore shoulder, allowing two runs and eight hits in 14 1/3 innings over three starts. He did not get a decision in any of them.
–Field Level Media