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San Francisco Giants stymied by Jon Lester in Game 2

May 23, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) returns to the mound after giving up a two run home run to Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (background) during the fourth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) returns to the mound after giving up a two run home run to Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (background) during the fourth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Francisco Giants faced the best of the Cubs pitchers slated to throw, and came up empty. Shocking? Not entirely.

Jon Lester was lights out against the San Francisco Giants, leading the Cubs to a 4-1 win. The Cubs ace threw a complete game on only 99 pitches. Johnny Cueto wasn’t as sharp for the Giants, and that was the difference.

In the first four innings, Cueto made three location mistakes and got punished on all of them, resulting in three homers and four runs. That was enough for the Cubs. Kyle Schwarber hit a mammoth home-run to lead off the game for the Cubs. Jacob Heyward followed through with a solo-shot in the second, and Anthony Rizzo clubbed a two-run homer in the fourth.

Outside of those three pitches, Johnny Cueto struck out eight and walked one over six innings. He only surrendered two hits outside of those three homers.

Lester on the other hand was lights out. He struck out 10 and only gave up four hits, and one earned run. The Giants only offense came on back to back doubles from Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford in the fifth inning.

Rob Manfred would’ve enjoyed the brisk pace to the game, which including the rain delay went a total of three hours and ten minutes, with two hours and five minutes being actual game-play.

  • Johnny Cueto is still making mistakes up. With his velocity being down a tick, that is enough for players, especially like the Cubs’ hitters, to get a hold of and drive. Another interesting thing has been the fact he hasn’t used his cutter as much this year. His cutter usage is down from 15.8% to 8.8% according to fangraphs. 
  • The Giants greatly miss Denard Span and Hunter Pence. The lineup just looks quite toothless when Justin Ruggiano is hitting fifth. Ruggiano has hit a few homers, but like most Giants homers this season, they’re all solo shots. He just doesn’t scream “fifth in the order” good. Getting Pence back will be quite nice. Hopefully it’s soon.
  • Brandon Crawford is a wizard. He’s been making some plays this series, and this season that just make you think “can he get any-better?” And the answer is likely yes, because he hasn’t seemed to hit his ceiling as a defender yet. That’s insane.

Next: How are the top 10 prospects doing?

Tune in tomorrow as Matt Moore and Kyle Hendricks face off. First pitch is 5:15 PT, and you can catch it on NBCSBA, or KNBR 680.

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