Game Sixteen: Cubs (8-7) vs. Reds (8-8)
- Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 184, 844
- Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Jon Lester (0-2, 6.89/1.79/2.87) vs. Mike Leake (0-1, 3.92/1.11/4.71)
The Cubs open a three-game series in Cincinnati and will turn to Jon Lester to end the team’s two-game skid. The Cubs need for Lester to step up and not only put a win on the board but complete at least seven innings to keep Joe Maddon from going to the bullpen.
Jon Lester makes his first start at Great American Ball Park and his first start outside of Wrigley Field in a Cubs’ uniform. Lester had a rough outing when he faced the Reds on April 13 and he will face the same challenges tonight. The Reds have issues and a manager that likes to throw the F-word around, but the offense has the capability of putting runs on the board in a hurry.
The Cubs won two of three against the Reds at Wrigley. And weather permitting, this series will feature the same pitching matchups. Following tonight’s Jon Lester–Mike Leake matchup, Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face Anthony DeSclafani on Saturday afternoon. Travis Wood and Jason Marquis are slated to square off in Sunday’s finale.
The Cubs and Reds will wear throwback jerseys tonight. The Reds are paying tribute to the 1990 World Series Champs this season. And 1990 was the last time the Cubs hosted the All-Star Game at Wrigley Field.
Starlin Castro was born the year the Cubs hosted the Mid-Summer Classic. Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell were not born and Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Hendricks had not celebrated their first birthdays when Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson and Shawon Dunston were introduced in front of the Faithful. While the ’90 Reds reached The Goal, the Cubs that season finished 77-85, fourth in the NL East and short of the hopes created by the Boys of Zimmer the previous year.
Tonight all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester makes his fourth start of the year and second against the Reds. Lester is coming off a rather disappointing outing because the Cubs had a chance to win the series against the Padres with him on the hill. Lester lasted just 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Lester showed signs of improvement over his first two outings, but still nowhere near what is expected from him.
Tonight is Lester’s first road start of the year and it will be up to him and David Ross to keep the Reds from running wild on the bases.
The Reds put up six runs on 10 hits over six innings against Lester when they faced him at Wrigley on April 13. Lester did not walk a batter and struck out four. For the season, Lester has allowed 12 runs on 24 hits with four walks and 14 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings.
Tonight is just Lester’s second career start against the Reds and his first at Great American Ball Park. Jon Lester has to make sure the Reds offense does not turn it into the ‘Great American Launching Pad.’
Reds Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Brayan Pena: 8-for-21 with one double
- Marlon Byrd: 3-for-17 with two doubles
- Brennan Boesch: 3-for-13 with one triple
- Jay Bruce: 2-for-3 with one double
- Zack Cozart: 1-for-3
- Todd Frazier: 1-for-3 with one double
- Mike Leake: 0-for-3
- Kristopher Negron: 0-for-3
- Brandon Phillips: 3-for-3
- Joey Votto: 1-for-3 with one triple
Mike Leake is coming off a loss to the Cardinals. But Leake did his job, completed eight innings and put his team in position to win the game. The problem was that Leake allowed two runs while Adam Wainwright held the Reds to just one run in his eight innings of work.
Mike Leake makes his second home start of the year tonight in his second game in four starts against the Cubs. Leake is 30-23 in 76 games, 75 starts, at Great American with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.
The Cubs have not done much against Leake throughout his career. Eleven days ago, the Cubs put up four runs on seven hits on Leake with both Jorge Soler and Chris Coghlan taking him deep. And the Cubs won the game in 10 on an Arismendy Alcantara single.
Mike Leake is 8-2 in 16 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. The Cubs must make Leake work and try to get to the Reds middle relievers as soon as possible.
Cubs Career Numbers against Mike Leake
- Starlin Castro: 14-for-46 with three doubles, one triple and three walks
- Anthony Rizzo: 9-for-23 with two triples, one home run and two walks
- Welington Castillo: 3-for-15 with one double and one walk
- Miguel Montero: 1-for-9
- Chris Coghlan: 8-for-8 with three doubles and one home run
- Dexter Fowler: 2-for-8
- Jonathan Herrera: 1-for-5
- Travis Wood: 0-for-2 with two walks
- David Ross: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Jorge Soler: 1-for-3 with one home run
- Jon Lester: 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …