Game Thirty-Six: Cubs (20-15) vs. Pirates (17-19)
- Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: ABC 7, Fox Sports 1 – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 185, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jon Lester (3-2, 4.10/1.34/3.40) vs. Gerrit Cole (5-1, 2.32/1.13/2.62)
Weather permitting … The Cubs turn to Jon Lester this afternoon not only looking for a win and to extend the team’s winning streak to six games but to put together one of his longest outings of the season.
Joe Maddon could really use for Jon Lester to be the staff ace he was brought in to be. Lester hasn’t faced the Pirates this season and the Pittsburgh is 1-3 in games started by left handers. The bullpen is beat up and changes are expected to be made prior to Saturday’s game. But a minimum of seven, preferably eight innings from Lester should put the Cubs in position to win the game.
The offense is going to have its hands full with Gerrit Cole. The Pirates top starter has emerged as one of the best young arms in the game and he has already shut the Cubs down once this season. For as much as the Cubs need for Lester to be at the top of his game today, the same can be said for the Pirates and Gerrit Cole.
David Ross is expected in the starting lineup with Lester on the hill. The Cubs and Ross say he is okay and should not land on the DL. With the fact lefties (.242/.315/.219) hit Cole a little better than righties (.215/.270/.307), at least for average and on-base percentage, having Miguel Montero catch Lester might help the offense if Ross’ health is questionable.
Today all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester is coming off his fourth straight quality start. Lester was not happy with the way he pitched against the Mets, but he was effective and snapped the Cubs losing skid. Lester gave up three run on five hits with four walks and six strikeouts in six innings. After allowing two home runs in his previous six starts, the Mets took him deep twice. Lester has given up three home runs in his last two games.
Over his last three starts, Lester is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP and has held teams to a .200 batting average. Lester must cut down on the walks today, his strikeout to walk ratio is not where it should be.
Lester makes his sixth start of the season at Wrigley this afternoon. Lester is 2-2 in the first five with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP (15 runs, 32 hits, nine walks, 24 strikeouts, three home runs). Lester takes on the Pirates for the first time this season. Lester missed them in the other two series.
Jon Lester lost his only career start against the Pirates. Lester gave up three runs, two earned, on eight hits in six innings at PNC Park on June 24, 2011. Lester walked one and struck out five in a 3-1 loss to Paul Maholm.
Pirates Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Sean Rodriguez: 8-for-33 with three doubles, one home run and four walks
- Francisco Cervelli: 2-for-9 with one walk
- Corey Hart: 2-for-9 with two home runs and one walk
- Chris Stewart: 3-for-5 with one home run and one walk
- Andrew McCutchen: 0-for-2
- Neil Walker: 1-for-3
Gerrit Cole has already held the Cubs in check once this season and he’s coming off a good bounce back outing against the Phillies. Following his dominating six inning start against the Cubs on April 29, Cole was not nearly as sharp in a start at PNC with the Reds. Cole lasted just five innings and was hung with the loss after allowing three runs on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Cole limited the Phillies to two runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in seven innings.
Gerrit Cole hit a bump in the road against the Reds and is 1-1 in his last two games with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. The Cubs have a big challenge ahead of them this afternoon. Cole has been just about untouchable on the road this season. Cole is 3-0 in four starts outside of PNC Park with a 2.10 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. And he has pretty much owned the Cubs over the course of his short big league career.
Gerrit Cole improved to 6-0 in six starts against the Cubs with his six-inning outing at Wrigley on April 29. Cole gave up one unearned run on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. For his career, Cole is 6-0 in six starts against the Cubs with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 4-0 in four starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Gerrit Cole
- Starlin Castro: 5-for-11 with one walk
- Welington Castillo: 4-for-11 with one double
- Anthony Rizzo: 3-for-8 with one double and two walks
- Chris Coghlan: 2-for-7 with one walk
- Dexter Fowler: 1-for-5 with one walk
- Jorge Soler: 0-for-3
- Kris Bryant: 0-for-1 with one walk
- Jonathan Herrera: 0-for-2
- Miguel Montero: 1-for-2
- Travis Wood: 0-for-1
- Matt Szczur: 1-for-1
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …