Mon Jul 22 12:17am ET
Two of baseball's hottest teams since the All-Star break collide Monday night when the Chicago Cubs and host San Francisco Giants open a three-game series.
The Cubs flew to San Francisco after Sunday's 5-1 home loss to San Diego, yet quite possibly will be the fresher of the two teams when the series begins.
That's because the Giants capped an eight-game week with their fourth extra-inning win in six days on Sunday, outlasting the New York Mets 3-2 at home on a Mike Yastrzemski home run in the 12th inning.
Having already played a doubleheader and a 10-inning game at Colorado earlier in the week, the Giants needed 47 innings to take three of four from the Mets, getting a boost Sunday from two guys making their major league debuts: pitcher Conner Menez and third baseman Zach Green.
Menez didn't get a decision after holding the Mets to two runs and three hits in five innings, while Green had a dream debut with a single in his first big-league at-bat and an RBI double in his second.
"These young guys have come up and contributed for us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters after the win. "It's been fun watching what the different guys have done to help us win games."
The Giants have the best record in the National League since the All-Star break at 9-2, with the Cubs second at 7-2.
Right-handers Alec Mills (0-1, 4.50 ERA) of the Cubs and Shaun Anderson (3-2, 4.87) of the Giants are scheduled to get the starts Monday against teams they've never faced before. In fact, neither guy has ever faced a single opponent on the other's roster.
Mills also will be starting a game on the road for the first time in his three-year career. He's made three previous starts at home for the Cubs, including in his 2019 season debut last Tuesday in a 4-3 win over Cincinnati. The 27-year-old limited the Reds to three runs in six innings, but did not get a decision in the 10-inning win.
Meanwhile, Anderson will be pitching at home for the first time in a while, having been scheduled on the road in each of his last three starts.
The Giants won all three of those games, but did so on the strength of their offense, bailing out the 24-year-old on all three occasions. Anderson allowed 13 runs in 13 1/3 innings over the stretch in 7-5, 10-7 and 11-8 wins.
He's won his last two home starts, allowing four runs in 11 2/3 innings.
While the Giants have surprised opponents with contributions from no-name players, the Cubs have attacked from different angles, all from the same guy.
Kris Bryant started games at three different positions -- left field, right field and third base -- while the Cubs took two of three from the Padres in their just completed series.
Despite the defensive inconsistency, he's managed to hit .346 in July, going 18-for-52 with five doubles and four home runs. He's even walked 10 times.
"He's playing as good as he can play right now," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Bryant before Sunday's game. "I really like what I'm watching; we all do. It's huge that he's been able to do that, and he does it without complaint. It's so important to what we're doing right now."
--Field Level Media