The race for a pennant is still on and the Chicago Cubs are hoping they'd see theirs flown this time around after more than 70 years of agonizing wait for the franchise. They had their chances last year, but the attempt was foiled by the New York Mets after being swept in the 2015 NLCS.
Now, the league's no. 1 seed is on the hunt once again. They are heavily-favored, as they have always been, to take home the 2016 World Series among the betting public.
The Cubs have been under the World Series curse since 1908, and out to cast the spell anew are the streaking San Francisco Giants. The two squads will square off on Friday, Oct. 7 at Wrigley Field in Illinois to open their best-of-five series.
Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants Head-to-Head Matchup
As good as the Cubs' run last year, it ended short of a World Series stint. But, the team is making some strides this season compared to 2015. Offense-wise, they have 119 runs more and 221 strikeouts fewer for the year 2016.
Defensively, the Cubs are on top of the NL division primarily because of how good they were able to pull off some stops. Chicago manager Joe Maddon is known for his style that puts premium on defense. The team is hoping that their reliables like Russell, Heyward, and Baez can hold against the Giants.
Bruce Bochy's squad, on the one hand, is surging and was now able to get over the regular season's second half hump. The Giants were able to successfully take care of their last two assignments going into the Friday match.
They convincingly defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-1, and dismantled the Mets at Citi Field, 3-0, thanks to a Gillaspie's three-run home run in the 9th inning. The Giants are definitely in high spirits and are poised for an upset against the top seed Cubs.
Bumgarner Hopes to Continue to Weave His Post-Season Magic
Lefty Madison Bumgarner stands as the biggest threat for the Cubs. The starting pitcher for the Giants continue to prove his worth as the best postseason pitcher in MLB's history with a 0.91 ERA.
In the Mets game, Bumgarner only allowed four hits, while making the efforts of the first six hitters fruitless in just 14 throws. However, he understands that the Cubs' game is another story.
"I've been blessed with a lot of opportunities," said Bumgarner. "But I've played this game long enough to know anything can happen, especially this time of year, so I'm not going to take anything for granted or expect it to come easily."