Game Forty-Six: Cubs (25-20) vs. Nationals (27-19)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus, MLB Network – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 89, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jon Lester (4-2, 3.56/1.31/3.57) vs. Max Scherzer (5-3, 1.67/0.88/2.03)
The Cubs and Nationals wrap up the three-game series under the lights with a primetime matchup between Jon Lester and Max Scherzer. The Cubs will look to scratch out as many runs as possible against Scherzer while leaning on Lester to keep the Nationals off the board.
The Cubs have held their own with the Nationals so far this series. Tonight will be another big test against one of the best starters in the game. Until Addison Russell’s double, the Cubs had scored four runs in two games on four solo home runs. Small ball, productive outs and no mistakes on the bases will be keys for the offense. And the defense must not give the Nationals any extra outs.
Jon Lester and Max Scherzer were the top two free agent pitchers this past winter. And the Cubs were rumored to have interest in both before landing Lester. The mound at Wrigley tonight will have $365 million worth of starting pitchers throwing baseballs from it.
It will be interesting to see if Joe Maddon shifts his lineup tonight with David Ross behind the plate.
Tonight all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester is coming off his sixth straight quality start, but the first game he started since April 19 that the Cubs’ lost. Lester lasted seven innings on a night he had a workman, business like outing. Lester was not as sharp as he had been leading up to the start in Arizona. But the same could be said for the entire team. There just seems to be something about Chase Field that brings out the worst in the Cubs.
Lester looks to finish what has been a very good month for him and his team on a positive note. Lester is 4-0 in his last five starts with a 1.85 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Lester has allowed 10 runs, seven earned, on 29 hits with 10 walks and 27 strikeouts in 34 innings. The strikeout to walk ratio is a little concerning, along with the five home runs he has given up over his last five starts. Lester had to keep the ball in the park tonight, or at least limit the homers to solo shots.
Jon Lester is 3-2 in six starts at Wrigley this year with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP and he faces the Nationals for the fourth time in his career.
It has been almost three calendar years since Lester started a game against the Nationals. Lester received a no decision on June 10, 2012 in a game the Red Sox lost in Boston by a final of 4-3. Lester allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in seven innings.
Nationals Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Yunel Escobar: 9-for-40 with one double and five walks
- Denard Span: 6-for-19 with one double and five walks
- Jose Lobaton: 0-for-10
- Dan Uggla: 2-for-8 with one home run and one walk
- Ryan Zimmerman: 1-for-8 with one double and one walk
- Danny Espinosa: 2-for-3 with two doubles and one walk
- Ian Desmond: 2-for-3 with one double
- Tyler Moore: 1-for-3
The Cubs get their first look at Max Scherzer in a Nationals’ jersey. And he’s been on quite a roll this season.
Of the nine starts he has made, only one time has he allowed more than two earned runs and in those remaining eight starts, seven he allowed one run or less. If the offense thinks the last two days have been fun and challenging, they are in for a real treat tonight.
Scherzer’s stats are a little misleading due to the five runs on 10 hits the Marlins scored against him on May 6. Scherzer is 4-1 in his last five games with a 2.00 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP.
On the road, Scherzer is 2-1 in four starts with a 1.00 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.
Max Scherzer has faced the Cubs twice in his career and has two no decisions. Scherzer faced the Cubs once in an Arizona Diamondbacks jersey in 2008 and the last time as part of the Tigers’ rotation in 2012. Scherzer is 0-0 against the Cubs with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP with both starts taking place at Wrigley Field.
Cubs Career Numbers against Max Scherzer
- Dexter Fowler: 4-for-13 with one double
- David Ross: 3-for-9 with two doubles
- Starlin Castro: 0-for-3
- Chris Coghlan: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Miguel Montero: 1-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …