CHICAGO -- The Cubs may have wanted a chance for revenge against the Mets, who knocked them out of the playoffs last year, but instead they will face the Giants in the National League Division Series, starting Friday night.The Giants beat the Mets, 3-0, behind Madison Bumgarner's complete-game effort on
CHICAGO -- The Cubs may have wanted a chance for revenge against the Mets, who knocked them out of the playoffs last year, but instead they will face the Giants in the National League Division Series, starting Friday night.
The Giants beat the Mets, 3-0, behind Madison Bumgarner's complete-game effort on Wednesday night in the NL Wild Card Game, and they will travel to Chicago for Game 1 of the best-of-five NLDS, starting at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on FS1). Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) will start for Chicago against Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79 ERA).
:: NLDS: Giants vs. Cubs coverage ::
The 100-plus-year-old ballpark will be loud.
"It'll be a fun time in Chicago -- that's what it's been all year," Chicago's Jason Heyward said. "We don't take it for granted. It'll be a good time and we'll have some fun with it. This is what you play for, you want to be on this stage. Don't ever forget it or take it for granted, just have fun."
The Cubs and Giants last met in the postseason in the 1989 NL Championship Series, which San Francisco won, 4-1.
"I'm excited to play some playoff baseball at Wrigley," Giants right fielder Hunter Pence said. "That's a pretty special ballpark."
The Wrigley faithful may have been rooting for the Giants, who batted .147 against the Cubs in the regular season, hitting a total of three home runs total in seven games. The Mets, on the other hand, had the highest batting average against the Cubs, hitting .296 and clubbing 14 homers.
"[I had] no preference." Heyward said. "As long as we have a game here Friday, I'm happy."
The Giants won the World Series in 2010, '12 and '14. Can they do it again and extend their even-year World Series title streak to four? Maybe if Bumgarner can pitch every game. The Cubs did win the regular-season series, 4-3, and Chicago's pitchers compiled a 1.94 ERA, giving up 14 earned runs over 65 innings. Bumgarner got the victory in two of San Francisco's three games.
On May 20, Jake Arrieta gave up one earned run over seven innings and improved to 8-0 with an 8-1 win over the Giants in San Francisco against Jake Peavy. Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist and Jorge Soler each homered in that contest.
When they met in September, all four games were decided by one run.
Former Cub Jeff Samardzija started at Wrigley Field on Sept. 1, and he did not get a decision, giving up three runs over four innings. Lester threw a complete game on Sept. 2 for the win in a 2-1 victory, giving up three hits, including a solo homer by Hunter Pence. That was followed by what Cubs fans have dubbed the "Jason Heyward Game" on Sept. 4. Heyward hit a game-tying RBI single in the ninth and a walk-off RBI single in the 13th.
"We're confident," Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "Those two series [against Chicago] were back-and-forth, good games."
Chicago closer Aroldis Chapman faced the Giants three times -- twice with the Yankees and once with the Cubs.
This week, while the Giants were prepping for their Wild Card Game, the Cubs took Monday off, played a simulated game Tuesday, then reviewed some fundamentals in an afternoon workout on Wednesday.
"I feel we've done a great job taking it into our own hands in how we get ready for this series we have coming up," Heyward said, noting the regular-season finale against the Reds as a perfect example of the Cubs' attitude.
In that game, the Reds opened a 3-0 lead in the first inning and led 4-3 after eight, but the Cubs rallied to score four runs in the ninth for a 7-4 victory.
"I feel Game 162 was a testament to our season," Heyward said. "We could've easily said we're going to lay it down or whatever, but these guys don't give at-bats away, they don't give innings away on defense. I feel that's the name of our game, and if we do that, a lot of good things will happen."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.