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Giants face Cubs, look to add win to MLB-best record

The San Francisco Giants will go for a three-game sweep of the host Chicago Cubs on Sunday afternoon.

San Francisco is coming off a 15-4 win on Saturday. Tommy La Stella and Brandon Belt each hit three-run homers in the win, the Giants’ sixth in a row.

“We believe we’re the best team in baseball right now, and we’re a dangerous team,” Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman said.

No team in the majors has a better record than San Francisco (92-50), but the rival Los Angeles Dodgers are only 2 1/2 games behind in the highly competitive National League West. The Giants have won eight of their past nine games and lead the NL in home runs with 212 and are third in runs scored.

On the mound, the Giants are second in team ERA at 3.27, behind only the Dodgers (2.97), who have three Cy Young Award candidates in Julio Urias, Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer. That list doesn’t include the award winner already there in starter Clayton Kershaw — who is expected to be activated from the injured list on Monday — and reliever David Price.

There is no such embarrassment of riches in Chicago, where the Cubs have shifted their focus to future seasons after dealing away many of their core players before the trade deadline.

The Cubs (65-78) have lost three of four and sit 23 games back of the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

Cubs manager David Ross is expected to rejoin the team Sunday after sitting out since Sept. 3 because of a positive COVID-19 test result. Ross is vaccinated but stayed away from the team as bench coach Andy Green filled in for him.

Less certain is whether Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward will be available for the series finale. Heyward left Saturday’s game after he collided with Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford during a play at third base.

Crawford inadvertently kneed Heyward in the head during the play.

“It was a tough collision,” Green said. “Two strong guys running hard into each other.”

The Cubs will start left-hander Justin Steele (3-2, 3.75 ERA) in the series finale on Sunday. He has 39 strikeouts in 36 innings in 16 games (five starts) during his rookie campaign.

This will be Steele’s first appearance against San Francisco.

The Giants will counter with right-hander Logan Webb (9-3, 2.64). He has set career highs with 127 strikeouts in 119 1/3 innings this season. This also will be Webb’s first career matchup against the Cubs.

La Stella will try to sting his former team again after tallying five RBIs for San Francisco on Saturday.

“He’s a pest up there,” Gausman said. “He makes you work, he always has quality ABs, he sees a lot of pitches, and that’s what he does well. That’s his bread and butter. He’s gonna make you work and make you make a mistake.

“And then he’ll also come out there, swing at the first pitch and hit a three-run home run.”

–Field Level Media