Playoff Reset: Giants vs. Cubs NLDS Game 2

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The Game: San Francisco Giants @ Chicago Cubs, NLDS Game 2
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
The Channel: MLB Network
The Starters: Jeff Samardzija (Giants) vs. Kyle Hendricks (Cubs)

The Upshot:

The Cubs have one game left at Wrigley Field before the series moves to San Francisco, so naturally they’re putting Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) on the mound this evening. Hendricks owned a 9-2 record at home in 2016, sweetened by a 1.32 ERA and 6.36 K/BB rate over 95 1/3 innings. While he hasn’t found much success in prior playoff runs, pitching the Cubs through the NLDS and NLCS with a 5.19 ERA in 2015, his track record in 2016 should give him the edge against the Giants.

Bruce Bochy, meanwhile, will roll with Jeff Samardzija (12-11, 3.81 ERA) as the Giants look to even the series on Saturday. Unlike Hendricks, Samardzija isn’t building a case for the Cy Young Award this year, but his resurgence during the second half proved instrumental to the Giants’ postseason bid. He’s no stranger to Wrigley Field, either, after spending the better part of seven seasons with the Cubs to start his major league career.

Heading into Game 2, the bigger question mark is that of the teams’ offensive drives. The Giants have yet to score a run in the Division Series after blanking the Mets 3-0 in the wild card game, while the Cubs skated by on a solo home run from Javier Baez to cap their first NLDS win on Friday. Although today’s match-up profiles as less of a pitcher’s duel than the Cueto-Lester standoff of Game 1, a win would put the Cubs in position to go for the sweep on Monday. Too bad they’ll need to dismantle Madison Bumgarner‘s perfect postseason record to do so.