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2016 NLDS Preview: Giants vs Cubs

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

This is going to be a crazy series. Two streaks come together; the Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series in 107 years and the San Francisco Giants have one every “even” year since 2010. The Giants beat the New York Mets in the NLWC to face the Cubs. Even though the Cubs were one of the best regular season teams do not count the Giants out quite yet.

Unlike the Dodgers and Nationals series, the Cubs are better in almost every aspect over the Giants. The Cubs have scored the third most runs and have the lowest team ERA in MLB.

However, the Giants have postseason magic and Madison Bumgarner. He has an astonishing 0.50 road ERA in the playoffs which is unheard of.

There are a few things that the Giants will have to count on in this series to pull out a victory.

First, the Giants bullpen needs to be better. Their bullpen has a combined 3.65 ERA which is 15th best in MLB. A shutdown bullpen is a key to a playoff run, just look at the Kansas City Royals last season, who rode their bullpen to a World Series title.

In the regular season, the Giants bullpen had 24 losses in the regular season which is right outside the top 10 in MLB. Most notably, Santiago Casilla, the Giants closer has 2-5 record and 30 saves on the season. A closer is supposed to be your most dominant pitcher, but he has struggled at times this season.

Second, they need to come out of Chicago with a win in one of the first two games.

In Game 1, Johnny Cueto of the Giants (2.79 ERA) will face Jon Lester (2.44 ERA). The first game will be the Giants best shot to steal a game and it will be a pitchers duel.

Then in Game 2, the Cubs will send Kyle Hendricks (2.13 ERA) to the mound and the Giants have not announced their starter, but it will most likely be Jeff Samardzija (3.81 ERA).

This gets the Giants to Game 3, where Bumgarner will take the hill against Jake Arrieta. Any time Bumgarner takes the hill in the playoffs, the Giants have a great opportunity to win. This will give the Giants two opportunities to win a third game against the Cubs. However, this game will not be a cakewalk since Arrieta is the reigning 2015 NL Cy Young, but Baumgardner is one of the best postseason pitchers of all time. In 2014 he recorded two wins and one save in the World Series.

This is going to be a competitive series. The Giants won three straight games against the Los Angeles Dodgers to end the season and beat the Mets in the playoffs. They are coming into the playoffs hot just like every other even year.

The Cubs are a great baseball team and had the best record in MLB this year. However, the Giants just have so much postseason magic it's hard to pick against them in the playoffs.

Prediction: Giants, 3-2 

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