David Ross of the Cubs and Joc Pederson of the Giants take center stage

Credit: Richard Mackson – USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs manager David Ross and San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson should have all eyes on them again as they get the chance to continue a friendly rivalry on Saturday night when the clubs will meet for the third consecutive time in San Francisco.

The teams shared the first two games of a four-game series that featured an impressive pitch and eye-catching gesture from Ross to Pederson early in Thursday’s series opener.

The Cubs and Giants are meeting for the first time since last September, when Pederson was traded from the Cubs to the Atlanta Braves.

The veteran moved to San Francisco in free agency in the spring, and on Thursday saw Ross — and the Cubs — for the first time in more than a year since the Chicago-Atlanta deal on July 15.

According to the two sides, they exchanged pleasantries before Ross, standing in the visitors’ dugout at Oracle Park, was caught on TV flashing two middle fingers in Pederson’s direction.

Ahead of Friday’s rematch, Ross and Pederson had to explain the friendly banter that led to a social media frenzy overnight.

“I should definitely know better,” Ross said. “That was kind of my hello to a friend of mine on the other side and he just got caught on camera. Bad taste.”

Pederson confirmed, noting that he wasn’t going to make the same mistake: “Yeah, he was just making a joke. No. I’m not going to have me.

All-Star this season for the Giants, Pederson went 0-2 with a walk in Thursday’s 4-2 Giants win before seeing no action in Friday’s 4-2 loss in the rematch.

The longtime Los Angeles Dodger hit just .230 with 11 homers in 73 games with the Cubs last season.

He never faced the Cubs’ slated starter on Saturday, left-hander Drew Smyly (3-5, 3.93 ERA). Pederson and Smyly were teammates and World Series champions with the Braves last year.

Smyly pitched for the Giants in the 2020 season, going 0-1 with a 3.42 ERA in seven games (five starts).

He faced the Giants three times in his career, twice as a starter, and went 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA. That includes a one-inning stint for the Braves last September in which he pitched a scoreless eighth inning in a 2-0 loss at San Francisco.

The 33-year-old has gone unbeaten in his last five starts, filling a month-long absence due to oblique strain. He’s 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in those games, having allowed just two earned runs in 10 1/3 innings in his last two outings.

Smyly is set to face Giants right-hander Jakob Junis (4-2, 2.98), who has made two appearances, one as a starter, since suffering a hamstring strain last month. He’s coming off a 4 1/3 inning start in which he allowed just one run in a 7-0 loss to Arizona on Monday.

The 29-year-old made just one start against the Cubs, allowing one run in five innings in a 3-1 loss at Kansas City in 2018. He didn’t get a decision.

–Field level media