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How the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants match up

How the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants match up
Cubs players warm up during a postseason practice at Wrigley Field on Oct. 5. (Kiichiro Sato / Associated Press)

Breaking down the National League division series between the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.

Best-of-five series

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Game 1: Friday at Chicago, 6 p.m.

San Francisco: Cueto (18-5, 2.79)

Chicago: Lester (19-5, 2.44)

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Game 2: Saturday at Chicago, 5 p.m.

San Francisco: TBA, likely Moore (13-12, 4.08)

Chicago: Hendricks (16-8, 2.13)

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Game 3: Monday at San Francisco, TBA

Chicago: Arrieta (18-8, 3.10)

San Francisco: TBA, likely Bumgarner (15-9, 2.74)

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Game 4: Tuesday at San Francisco, TBA

Chicago: Lackey (11-8, 3.35)

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San Francisco: TBA

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Game 5: Thursday at Chicago, TBA

San Francisco: TBA

Chicago: TBA

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Projected lineups

SAN FRANCISCO

Pos. Player, Avg, HR, RBI

CF Denard Span, .266, 11, 53

1B Brandon Belt, .275, 17, 82

C Buster Posey, .288, 14, 80

RF Hunter Pence, .289, 13, 57

SS Brandon Crawford, .275, 12, 84

LF Angel Pagan, .277, 12, 55

2B Joe Panik, .239, 10, 62

3B Conor Gillaspie, .262, 6, 25

CHICAGO

Pos. Player, Avg, HR, RBI

CF Dexter Fowler, .276, 13, 48

3B Kris Bryant, .292, 39, 102

1B Anthony Rizzo, .292, 32, 109

2B Ben Zobrist, .272, 18, 76

SS Addison Russell, .238, 21, 95

RF Jason Heyward, .230, 7, 49

LF Jorge Soler, .238, 12, 31

C Willson Contreras, .282, 12, 35

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Keys to the series

Betting against Madison Bumgarner in October is nearly hopeless, but the Cubs have four top-flight starters, a productive top half of the lineup, and the hardest-throwing pitcher in the sport's history closing games. If the Giants are to pull off the upset in spite of their substandard bullpen, they will require dominant performances from Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and maybe Matt Moore, plus more of their by-now-believable even-year magic. While the Cubs were the best team in baseball throughout 2016, that guarantees them nothing now. But when in doubt, side with the best, unless San Francisco can uncover a weakness no other team could.

The pick: Cubs in five.

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