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Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - 9:05 PM ET
 

Cubs-Giants Preview

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The San Francisco Giants may be the reigning World Series champion, but they're on the verge of dropping into the NL West cellar.

Madison Bumgarner will try to prevent that from happening.

Bumgarner attempts to help the Giants avoid a sixth loss in seven games and beat the Chicago Cubs for a third straight time at AT&T Park on Saturday night.

San Francisco (46-56) has won two of the past three World Series, but the team is much closer to the basement than first place after dropping five of six, including Friday's 3-2 defeat to Chicago.

The Giants trail the division-leading Dodgers by eight games and are one game ahead of last-place San Diego.

Bumgarner (10-6, 2.93 ERA) has been by far the team's most reliable starter this season. He leads San Francisco in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts, while his ERA is the lowest of any qualifying member of the rotation.

Still, he could've used some help from the offense Sunday, when he was the hard-luck loser in a 3-1 defeat to Arizona. He yielded one run and five hits in seven innings.

Bumgarner had won each of his previous three decisions over four starts at home behind a 1.93 ERA.

He's had similar success at home against the Cubs (46-55), going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three outings. The left-hander has won the last two, allowing two runs with 22 strikeouts in 16 innings.

Bumgarner, though, could find it difficult to win if the Giants' offense doesn't produce. They have scored 14 runs over the past six games and are 9 for 47 (.191) with runners in scoring position during that stretch.

Buster Posey has been a major culprit, going 1 for 16 and stranding seven runners in those six games. He went 0 for 4 in Friday's opener, dropping his average in 11 home contests against the Cubs to .158.

Jeff Francoeur drove in both of San Francisco's runs Friday and is 7 for 16 with a homer and six RBIs over his past five meetings versus Chicago.

The Cubs have alternated wins and losses over the past five games, but they're making an impact on the postseason race by trading veterans to contenders ahead of Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline.

Alfonso Soriano was the latest departure, as he was sent to the Yankees for minor league pitcher Corey Black on Friday.

More moves seem to be on the horizon.

"There are some things we'd like to explore, and if we can find the right fit and bring value back to the organization, sure, we would be (interested)," president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told the team's official website. "We've had a very active July. We set out to be proactive, especially with starting pitching."

One of those deals sent Matt Garza to Texas in exchange for rookie right-hander Justin Grimm, third baseman Mike Olt and Class-A pitcher C.J. Edwards.

That deal opened a rotation spot for Chris Rusin (1-0, 5.40), who is scheduled to face the Giants for the first time.

The rookie left-hander made a case for remaining in the rotation Monday, allowing two runs and two hits in five innings of a 4-2 win at Arizona, hours after being recalled from Triple-A Iowa.

Starlin Castro is hitting .385 over the past 12 games after getting two hits and one RBI on Friday. He's 10 for 24 (.417) with two homers, two doubles and five RBIs in as many games versus the Giants this year.

Castro is also 8 for 21 (.381) against Bumgarner.

Tagged: Cubs, Giants, Madison Bumgarner

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