Game Sixty-One: Cubs (33-27) vs. Reds (28-33)
- Game Time – 7:08pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 89, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jon Lester (4-5, 4.25/1.43/3.65) vs. Anthony DeSclafani (5-4, 3.53/1.30/3.70)
Weather permitting … The Cubs turn to Jon Lester in the series finale against the mighty Big Red Machine. With a win tonight, the Cubs will not only post a series victory against a division rival but will improve to seven games over .500 for the first time this season. With the next 14 games against the Indians, Twins, Dodgers and Cardinals, tonight is really a must win facing a team with a record under .500.
The Cubs have really struggled against Anthony DeSclafani. Joe Maddon will likely load his lineup with as many lefties as possible tonight. And that could include Jonathan Herrera. The Cubs defense has not had its best games behind Jon Lester this season and Maddon likes Herrera’s glove. Lefties are hitting .245/.337/.341 against DeSclafani while right handers have managed a .242/.287/.298 line.
The Cubs are expected to make a roster move or two to bring in at least one reliever before tonight’s game. The bullpen has been overworked of late and the rain cutting Kyle Hendricks’ start short made matters worse. The Cubs do not have another off day until June 29. Jon Lester and company must start going deeper in games but for now, Maddon might have an even shorter bench than he’s been working with for a majority of the season.
With tonight’s game on the World Wide Leader, Len Kasper will be joining Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer on WBBM to call the game on the radio side.
Tonight all starts with Jon Lester …
The last time the Cubs were on National Television in a game started by Jon Lester, the big off-season acquisition’s issues were outed. Before Opening Night at Wrigley those that paid close attention to the game knew of his preference of not throwing to first base and also realized he put together one heck of a career.
Lester takes the mound tonight in need of a great, not good, but great outing. Lester is under the microscope due to the label placed on him by the media and fan base. Lester is a very good big league pitcher and a number one for most teams. But the term ‘ace’ should be reserved only for the elite of the elite, and that has not been Lester throughout the course of his career.
Jon Lester is coming off back-to-back poor starts. Lester did not complete five innings in Detroit and gave up five runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Lester is 0-2 in his last two outings with a 10.61 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP. The Marlins and Tigers hit .409 against him in those two games.
Tonight is Lester’s eighth start of the year at Wrigley. Lester is 3-3 in the first seven with a 3.59 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. And he will see a Reds’ lineup for the third time that he has struggled with this season.
In two starts against the Reds, Lester does not have a decision but he has allowed nine runs on 15 hits with one walks and 14 strikeouts in 12 innings (6.75 ERA, 1.33 WHIP).
Reds Numbers against Jon Lester in 2015
- Jay Bruce: 2-for-6 with one double
- Todd Frazier: 2-for-5 with two doubles and one walk
- Brandon Phillips: 3-for-6
- Joey Votto: 1-for-6 with one triple
- Brayan Pena: 1-for-5
- Billy Hamilton: 2-for-3
- Kris Negron: 0-for-3
The Cubs get their third look of the season at Anthony DeSclafani. And the young right hander has been very good for the Reds this season. DeSclafani is coming off a win against the Phillies and he has not lost a game in almost a month. While pitcher’s wins and losses are not the best way to judge his performance, pitchers care about their records … more importantly, the Reds are 4-2 in his last six starts.
Anthony DeSclafani is 2-0 in his last two starts with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. DeSclafani is 3-2 in six road starts this season with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.
In two outings against the Cubs this year, DeSclafani is 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. In 12 innings, the Cubs have managed five runs, one earned, on seven hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts. When the Cubs score a run tonight against DeSclafani, it will be their first of the season off the right hander at Wrigley Field.
Cubs Numbers against Anthony DeSclafani in 2015
- Dexter Fowler: 2-for-6
- Anthony Rizzo: 0-for-5 with one walk
- Starlin Castro: 0-for-4 with one walk
- Chris Coghlan: 1-for-4 with one double and one walk
- Miguel Montero: 2-for-4 with one home run and one walk
- Kris Bryant: 0-for-3
- Jonathan Herrera: 0-for-2
- Addison Russell: 1-for-2 with one double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …