The Cubs had entered their series against the Padres on a season-long 12-game losing streak. Chicago manager Dale Sveum is glad his club has been able to leave that losing streak in the rear-view mirror.
"The bottom line is every team's going to go through a bad streak no matter how good you are. It's just the way baseball is," Sveum said. "You know it's going to happen sometime during the season. Do you want to get it to 12 games? No, of course not. You know that six- to eight-game losing streaks pretty much happen to everybody in the course of a season. The good teams have nine, 10, 10 out of 11, 12 out of 15-type streaks, too. That's what you need to back it up with."
After owning a 5-4 record against the Giants last season, the Cubs will meet San Francisco for the first time this year.
The Cubs will send out left-hander Paul Maholm, who was 2-1 with a 3.56 ERA over the span of five starts in May. He struggled to get through five innings against Pittsburgh in his most recent start and didn't have great stuff in his two previous outings.
Maholm was phenomenal in four starts from April 21 to May 9, however. In four wins during that stretch, Maholm carried a 1.07 ERA and held opponents to a .167 batting average. He'll look to return to that form against the Giants.
Madison Bumgarner takes the hill for the Giants, searching for his first win since allowing one run over seven innings against the Brewers on May 5. Bumgarner is 0-3 in his last four starts and allowed four earned runs in each of those losses. However, the Cubs could be the right ingredient for success. Bumgarner is 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA, 29 strikeouts and a .230 opponent's average in four career starts against Chicago.
Cubs: After brief homestand, it's back on the road
Chicago stopped at home for three games against the Padres, and now is headed out for its longest road trip thus far this season after an off-day Thursday.
The Cubs will spend 10 days on the road, starting with four games at San Francisco, then play a three-game set in Milwaukee and finally three more games in Minnesota. The road trip is part of a 21-day stretch in which the Cubs are playing 19 games over six series in six different cities.
Traveling to the West Coast and as far east as Pittsburgh, the club is scheduled to fly a total of 6,770 miles during the trip.
"Obviously, we have a tough stretch," Sveum said Wednesday.
Alfonso Soriano has homered in two of his last three games. He has seven homers in his last 14 games after going without a homer in the previous 30 games.
Steve Clevenger finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs on Wednesday in his first game back off the disabled list since sustaining a strained right oblique and rib cage injury on April 26.
Giants: Melky ties SF-era month mark for hits
With an eighth-inning single Wednesday, Melky Cabrera recorded his 51st hit in the month of May. The total ties Randy Winn's Giants mark from September 2005 as the most base hits in a single month during the San Francisco era. Bill Terry holds the franchise mark with 54 hits in August 1932. Cabrera hit .428 (51-for-119) in May with three home runs and 17 RBIs.
Giants right fielder and leadoff batter Gregor Blanco has demonstrated great patience at the plate this season, and that's something San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy loves to see.
"That's something we've missed," Bochy said. "I think guys are feeding off of that."
Blanco has a team-high 22 walks this season, despite having 114 at-bats -- nearly 100 fewer at-bats than team-leader Cabrera. Blanco is also second only to Cabrera with a .401 on-base percentage.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has the most at-bats of any current Cub against Bumgarner. Castro is 5-for-12 lifetime against the lefty.
The Cubs are 2-19 when outhit by their opponents.
Maholm is 0-1 in four career starts at AT&T Park.