The tributes for Kris Bryant have officially ended, allowing the Chicago Cubs to focus solely on beating the visiting San Francisco Giants on Saturday afternoon.
Bryant made an emotional return to Wrigley Field for the opener of the three-game series on Friday afternoon, his first time back since the Cubs traded the former National League Rookie of the Year and MVP to the Giants on July 30.
The Cubs showed a seven-minute video tribute of Bryant’s highlights from the minor leagues on up to his World Series title with the Cubs in 2016. He got a standing ovation on his first trip to the plate.
That at-bat resulted in a strikeout with runners on first and third to end the first inning. Bryant later walked and scored in the eighth, the final run in the 6-1 victory that ran San Francisco’s major league-best record to 91-50.
“He’s probably looking to do something pretty special while he’s here, so we’re trying to keep him from doing that,” Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks said after getting Bryant out all three times he faced him on Friday, including twice by strikeout.
Chicago manager David Ross missed the game on Friday after he tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Andy Green, who continues to act as interim manager, was quite impressed with the reception Bryant received.
“My level of appreciation is probably dwarfed by other people’s level because they’ve watched him a lot longer than I have and they’ve been around him such a long time,” Green said. “I was glad to see him get the reception he got. I would have liked to have kept him from getting a win (Friday), but it was good to see him back.”
Zach Davies is set to start for Chicago (65-77) on Saturday.
Davies (6-10, 5.16 ERA) hasn’t made it through the fifth inning in his past three outings.
He most recently gave up six runs and eight hits in four innings on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He took a 7-5 lead into the fifth inning but was lifted after giving up a leadoff single and wasn’t eligible for the 11-8 win.
Davies faced the Giants on June 3 and allowed four runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. He departed with two on and one out and the score tied 2-2, but reliever Rex Brothers gave up a three-run homer to the first batter he faced, Brandon Crawford, and the Giants went on to win 7-2.
Davies is 1-3 in seven career starts against the Giants with a 2.88 ERA.
Kevin Gausman (13-5, 2.58 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Giants.
Gausman is 4-0 in his past seven starts with a 3.35 ERA, a nice rebound after he went 1-4 in his previous six outings with a 5.16 ERA.
He most recently threw seven strong innings against the Colorado Rockies on Monday, allowing three runs and five hits in the 10-5 win.
“I thought he did an excellent job elevating his fastball, getting swings and misses on it, mixing in his split just enough to keep hitters off-balance,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “He looked really confident and his ball had a ton of life on it.”
Gausman is 1-3 in five career appearances against the Cubs, including four starts, with a 7.58 ERA.
Gausman earned that win against the Cubs on June 5. He allowed two unearned runs and two hits in seven innings, striking out 10 without a walk in the 4-3 win.
–Field Level Media