I won’t lie, I hate the west coast trips. They are my least favorite time of the season, and that has absolutely nothing to do with the teams the Chicago Cubs face. The games start way to late for me to fully enjoy them, especially during the week when you have to wake up at 4:30 every morning. Thankfully, only two of the six games fall into that category.
The Cubs are in the catbird seat though as they head in to San Francisco to face the Giants, and then to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. Currently the Cubs have a commanding lead for that second Wild Card as they lead the Giants by six games. Hypothetically, the worst case scenario for the Cubs this week is they go 0-6. If that happens they would still lead the second wild card by a half game.
The good news is that they will not go 0-6 this road trip. I can almost guarantee that.
In order for the Giants series to matter at all, they need to sweep the Cubs, and even then they would still be three games back for that second wild card. If the Cubs even win one game of that series, all the Giants do is gain a single game.
The good news? I think the Cubs will win at least two of the three games in San Francisco, which would put the Giants 7.5 games behind the Cubs. The only game I see as a problem is Thursday afternoon when the Cubs face Madison Bumgarner.
This is a must sweep series for the Giants, not for the Cubs. With Jake Arrieta on the mound tonight for the series opening game, I do not think we need to worry about a sweep.
The Dodgers are the interesting team, as they seem to be in a free fall. While they still lead the National League West, they are 4-6 in their last 10 games and hold only a small 1.5 game lead over the Giants.
I am not saying the Dodgers series will be easy, but might not be as tough as initially thought. The Cubs will miss Zack Greinke but still have to face Clayton Kershaw. Granted the Cubs won both games against the Dodgers when they pitched earlier in the year, but we cannot write the Kershaw game off as a win.
I can see the Cubs going 4-2 on this west coast swing, or I can see them going 3-3, not sure I see them doing worse. Could they do better? Absolutely. If there is one thing we have learned about this team is that you can never count them out of a game; not with 12 walk off wins under their belts.