Chicago Cubs leadoff man Nick Madrigal and pretty much all Giants hitters not named Joc Pederson will look for improved efforts Saturday when the clubs continue their three-game series in San Francisco.
Madrigal contributed only a walk in his return from Triple-A, but the Cubs benefited from a three-run seventh inning in their 3-2 victory over the Giants on Friday.
Marcus Stroman won a pitchers' duel against Anthony DeSclafani, helping Chicago halt a four-game losing streak while ending San Francisco's run of consecutive wins at three.
With the Cubs having scored two or fewer runs in seven of their last 10 games, team management decided the time was right to promote Madrigal. He was batting .488 over an 11-game span with Triple-A Iowa.
Madrigal had hit just .247 in 34 major league games this season before Friday's game. As manager David Ross put it, Madrigal was sent to the minors to "try and get him back on track."
The move appears to have worked, even if Friday's initial returns were an 0-for-3 performance.
"There's a lot of emotions, especially at first," Madrigal said of the demotion. "But I felt like I got into a good groove and just really found my swing and the style of play I usually play. It was nice to go down there and just play."
If Madrigal gets another shot Saturday, chances are it will come against a series of Giants relievers. The team is expected to resort to quantity over quality as it attempts to fill a void left by the injured Alex Wood (back strain).
Right-hander John Brebbia (2-0, 3.65 ERA), who has thrown shutout ball in four of five outings as an opener this season, is expected to start for the Giants on Saturday. He is 1-2 with a 4.66 ERA in 20 career appearances (one start) vs. Chicago.
The Cubs are slated to turn to right-hander Kyle Hendricks (0-2, 4.70), who has not pitched well in his last three starts. He hasn't received much support, either.
The California native has thrown a total of 15 1/3 innings in those starts, allowing 18 hits. Meanwhile, his teammates have put up only three runs in those contests.
Hendricks is coming off a 5-0 road loss to the San Diego Padres on Monday in which he allowed four runs in six innings. The 33-year-old has gone 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 10 career starts against the Giants.
He will face a Giants team that, despite Pederson's career-high-tying four hits, came crashing back to sea level Friday. San Francisco totaled 21 runs while notching three straight wins against the Colorado Rockies from Tuesday through Thursday.
Asked if his club had lost any momentum in Friday's two-run, seven-hit effort, San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler simply said, "That's baseball."
"You're going to have some games when you're not swinging the bat like you want and you're not putting up crooked numbers like we did in Colorado," he continued. "Then you have one inning that doesn't go well (in the field) and you lose a baseball game. You quickly turn the page and get ready to play again tomorrow."
--Field Level Media