Game Forty-One: Cubs (23-17) vs. Diamondbacks (19-21)
- Game Time – 8:40pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 188, 844
- Location – Chase Field, Phoenix
Jon Lester (4-2, 3.70/1.36/3.40) vs. Josh Collmenter (3-5, 5.36/1.36/4.51)
The Cubs open a three-game series tonight in Phoenix and will spend Memorial Day Weekend taking on the Diamondbacks.
The Cubs are playing good ball right now, winners of eight of their last 10 games. The Cubs did just enough to take two of three in San Diego and tonight will try to win for the third day in a row behind Jon Lester.
After tonight’s matchup of Opening Day starters in Jon Lester and Josh Collmenter, Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face Rubby De La Rosa on Saturday night. The road trip and series wraps Sunday with Jason Hammel taking on Jeremy Hellickson.
Chase Field has proved to be a very challenging place for the Cubs to play over the years. To put it simply, the Cubs have played poorly in Phoenix and have really struggled against the Diamondbacks. The Cubs won two of the seven games (2-5) with the Diamondbacks a year ago and over the last 10 seasons, the Cubs have won the season series against the Diamondbacks only three times (2008, 2010, 2011).
The Diamondbacks have a good offense (second in runs scored, fifth in slugging and sixth in OPS in the National League), it’s pitching that is Arizona’s issue. If the starting staff struggles, the Cubs will lose more games at Chase Field this weekend.
Tonight all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester is coming off his fifth straight quality start. Lester was very good on a day with the wind blowing out at Wrigley. The Pirates collected nine hits, but Lester allowed just one to score. And that was a solo shot by Sean Rodriguez in the third inning. Lester lasted seven innings and issued one free pass while striking out seven batters.
Over his last four starts, Lester is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Lester has allowed eight runs, five earned, on 24 hits with eight walks and 23 strikeouts in 27 innings.
Lester makes his third start outside of Wrigley tonight. Lester is 1-0 in two road starts this season with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.
Tonight will be Lester’s third career appearance against the Diamondbacks. Lester is 1-0 in the first two with a 6.35 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. And Lester takes the hill and Chase Field for the first time. Lester last faced Arizona in 2013 at Fenway Park and he received a no decision in a 7-6 Red Sox loss. Lester gave up six runs on 11 hits without a walk and six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Diamondbacks Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Aaron Hill: 4-for-35 with two doubles and four walks
- Mark Trumbo: 3-for-9 with one home run
- Paul Goldschmidt: 1-for-3 with one home run
- Cliff Pennington: 0-for-2 with one walk
- A.J. Pollock: 1-for-3
Josh Collmenter was more than serviceable in April but has really struggled in May. Collmenter was the D-Backs’ Opening Day starter. Collmenter ended the first month of the season with a 2-3 record in five starts with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
Over his last three starts, Collmenter is 1-2 with an 11.30 ERA and 1.88 WHIP. Teams have hit close to .400 against the right hander (.393 batting average). Collmenter has allowed 18 runs on 24 hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings.
Tonight is Collmenter’s sixth start at Chase Field this season. Collmenter is 1-4 in the first five with a 6.84 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP. Teams have hit .362 against him at home.
The Cubs should have plenty of opportunities to put runs on the board. The Cubs will have to cash in the runners.
Josh Collmenter has turned in some of his best pitching performances against the Cubs throughout his career. Collmenter is 1-0 in six games, three starts, versus the Cubs with a 1.27 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. Last season, Collmenter faced the Cubs once and limited them to one run on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts in seven innings.
Cubs Career Numbers against Josh Collmenter
- Dexter Fowler: 5-for-21 with one double, one home run and two walks
- Anthony Rizzo: 4-for-10 with two doubles, one home run and one walk
- Starlin Castro: 2-for-8 with one walk
- Jonathan Herrera: 0-for-6
- Chris Coghlan: 1-for-3 with one double
- Mike Baxter: 0-for-2
- Junior Lake: 1-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …