Tuesday, May 27, 2014
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Preview: Cubs At Giants

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[May 27, 2014]  Pablo Sandoval has followed a dismal April with a stellar month of May for the San Francisco Giants, who own the best record in the major leagues at 32-18. The Giants’ third baseman heads into Tuesday’s contest against the visiting Chicago Cubs with five home runs in his last eight games and is 9-for-21 with 11 RBIs during his six-game hitting streak. While Sandoval is heating up, Buster Posey is spending extra time with hitting coach Hensley Meulens in hopes of snapping a 5-for-39 slump.

The Cubs have been encouraged by the recent play of Nate Schierholtz, who belted a solo homer and scored two runs in Monday’s 8-4 win over his former team. The 30-year-old left-handed hitter, who has recorded three multi-hit performances in his last six contests, could be a valuable trade piece if he can raise his .214 batting average over the next few weeks. The Cubs aren’t likely to move Starlin Castro anytime soon, but they’d like to see more consistency from the promising 24-year-old, who is mired in a 2-for-25 slump.

TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, CSN (Chicago), CSN Bay Area (San Francisco)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Jake Arrieta (1-0, 2.33 ERA) vs. Giants RH Tim Hudson (4-2, 2.13)

Arrieta earned his first win last Thursday against San Diego, allowing one run over six innings and impressing Padres catcher Nick Hundley, who later was traded to Baltimore. “I faced him in 2010 and he’s a completely different pitcher now,” Hundley told MLB.com. “He has a good, hard cutter and backed it up with a fastball.” The 28-year-old Arrieta yielded one run over seven frames in his only previous start against the Giants on June 15, 2010.

Hudson returned on Thursday after missing one start due to a strained left hip and threw just three innings before a rain delay in Colorado forced his early exit. Chris Coghlan is 8-for-17 against the 38-year-old, who is 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA in seven career starts against the Cubs. Hudson, who has logged seven-plus frames in seven of his nine outings this season, owns a 1.33 ERA in his last three outings versus Chicago.

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1. Chicago is 4-24 when scoring fewer than four runs.

2. Giants RHP Matt Cain, who missed his scheduled start Monday with a strained right hamstring, remains optimistic about avoiding the disabled list.

3. The Cubs optioned OF Ryan Kalish to Triple-A Iowa and activated OF Justin Ruggiano from the disabled list.

PREDICTION: Cubs 5, Giants 4

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