Game Fifty-Six: Cubs (30-25) vs. Tigers (30-28)
- Game Time – 6:08pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 89, 844
- Location – Comerica Park, Detroit
Jon Lester (4-4, 3.86/1.36/3.77) vs. Anibal Sanchez (3-7, 5.69/1.31/4.51)
The Cubs get back to work tonight and open a brief two-game series with the Tigers to wrap up the team’s nine-game road trip. After taking three of four and two in a row from the Nationals, the Cubs are 4-3 in the first seven games of the trip.
The Cubs enter play tonight tied for second place with the Pirates in the division, 6 1/2 games back of the Cardinals. The Cubs will look to keep the Tigers on the ropes. Detroit has been in a funk and Brad Ausmus’ team is 3 1/2 games back of the Royals and Twins in the AL Central.
Tonight is just the Cubs’ third Interleague game of the season and the first in an American League park. The Cubs are 1-1 versus the Junior Circuit while the Tigers have gone 5-4 in nine games against the Senior Circuit.
The Cubs last played in Detroit in 2009 and dropped all three games. The Cubs are 4-13 in Interleague play against the Tigers. But the two franchises have a rather storied past with one another dating back to the early last century.
Joe Maddon is going with Miguel Montero at DH tonight with David Ross behind the plate catching Jon Lester.
Jon Lester is coming off a dud in Miami and faces a Tigers’ team that has had their way with him over the years, especially Miguel Cabrera. Lester faces one of his old minor league teammates tonight in Anibal Sanchez and hopefully the game plans he used against the Tigers were either left in Boston or Oakland.
The series in Detroit concludes tomorrow with Jake Arrieta taking on Shane Greene. The Tigers make the trip to Wrigley for two games in August (Aug. 18-19).
Tonight all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester is coming off his worst start of the season. Lester was lit up in Miami and lasted just five innings against the floundering Fish. The Cubs defense didn’t exactly put together its best effort behind Lester. But a staff’s number one pitcher is expected to perform better that Lester did and pick up his teammates, not make things worse. Lester was hammered for six runs on nine hits with a walk and four strikeouts in five innings.
Jon Lester was on a very good run leading up to the start against the Marlins. Lester posted a 4-1 record in the six starts with a 1.76 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Lester allowed 12 runs, eight earned, on 36 hits with 12 walks and 37 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Outside of Wrigley Field this year, Lester is 1-1 in four starts with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.
Tonight marks the 10th time in his career that Lester has started a game against the Tigers. Lester is 2-4 in the first nine with a 4.83 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP. Last year he was 0-2 in two starts versus Detroit with a 5.79 ERA and a 2.14 WHIP (six runs on 16 hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings). And at Comerica Park, Lester is 1-1 in four career starts with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP.
The Cubs not only face a big challenge tonight with Anibal Sanchez on the hill, the same can be said for Jon Lester based on the numbers and his history against the Tigers.
Tigers Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Rajai Davis: 12-for-41 with two doubles, two triples, one home run and four walks
- Miguel Cabrera: 14-for-27 with four doubles, one home run and nine walks
- Ian Kinsler: 7-for-32 with two home runs and three walks
- Josh Wilson: 0-for-14 with one walk
- Yoenis Cespedes: 1-for-11 with one walk
- Anthony Gose: 1-for-8
- Jose Iglesias: 1-for-6 with one double
- Nick Castellanos: 2-for-5 with one home run
- Bryan Holaday: 1-for-2
Anibal Sanchez has struggled this season and has not put together a good start in close to a month. Sanchez is coming off a loss to the A’s in which he allowed four runs on five hits with four walks and a strikeout in seven innings. Sanchez has not pitched to expectations (48 runs, 47 earned, on 74 hits with 23 walks and 69 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings).
After a rough April, Sanchez was 2-3 in six starts in May with a 5.97 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. And it has been even more of a struggle for Sanchez in his home park this year. Sanchez is 2-4 in eight starts at Comerica with a 6.56 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.
Anibal Sanchez is 2-2 in five career starts against the Cubs with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. Sanchez used the Cubs for leverage a couple of winters ago to get more money from the Tigers, where he wanted to stay. Sanchez has not faced the Cubs since the 2012 season. And he dominated the Cubs in one of his last starts with the Fish before he was dealt to Detroit. Sanchez beat the Cubs at Wrigley after allowing two runs, one earned, on nine hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings.
Cubs Career Numbers against Anibal Sanchez
- Miguel Montero: 3-for-17 with one double and one home run
- David Ross: 4-for-15 with one double, one home run and two walks
- Starlin Castro: 1-for-8 with two walks
- Jonathan Herrera: 0-for-7 with one walk
- Dexter Fowler: 1-for-6 with two walks
- Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-6 with one walk
- Chris Denorfia: 2-for-4 with two walks
- Chris Coghlan: 1-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …