Game Eighty-Nine: Cubs (47-41) vs. Braves (43-47)
- Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: ABC-7 – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 186, 844
- Location – Turner Field, Atlanta
Jon Lester (4-8, 3.59/1.26/3.14) vs. Manny Banuelos (1-0, 0.75/0.92/4.15)
Weather permitting … Joe Maddon turns to Jon Lester tonight and will ask his No. 1 starter to keep the Braves off the scoreboard while his teammates figure out lefty Manny Banuelos. The Cubs will face a very good lefty starter for the fourth time in five games. The Cubs are 10-6 in the 16 games versus southpaw starting pitchers this season.
The Cubs need for Jon Lester to begin his second half on a positive note. And for Lester, a little support from his teammates in the field and at the dish would be welcomed after his last three outings. With Lester on the mound, David Ross will be in the starting lineup. The Braves pushed hard to sign Lester and Ross last off-season. It would be a welcomed twist for the Cubs if Lester and Ross were the main reasons for the Cubs snapping their eight-game losing streak at Turner Field tonight.
Tonight all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester is coming off a rough outing against the White Sox in which three mistakes cost him five runs, four earned, and the Cubs a game. Lester has pitched better of late than the media or a majority of the fan base would care to admit. Lester was not good in June, but over his last three starts he is been much closer to the Jon Lester he was a year ago.
Jon Lester is 0-2 in his last three starts with a 1.71 ERA and 0.81 WHIP. Lester has allowed seven runs, four earned, on 14 hits with three walks and 23 strikeouts in 21 innings. Lester has completed seven innings in each of his last three games. Lester has not been able to pitch around mistakes by his defense in each of his last two starts and really the entire year. Lester needs to start picking up his teammates and not allow an error or a miscue to snowball on him.
Lester is 1-2 in seven road starts this year with a 3.80 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Outside of Wrigley, Lester has allowed 21 runs, 18 earned, on 43 hits with 12 walks and 43 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings.
Tonight is the fifth career start for Jon Lester against the Braves. Lester is 2-2 in the first four with a 3.60 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Last season, Lester was 1-1 in two starts versus the Braves with a 4.50 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. At Turner Field, Lester owns a 2-1 record in three starts with a 3.50 ERA and 1.44 WHIP.
Braves Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Nick Markakis: 17-for-73 with six doubles and four walks
- A.J. Pierzynski: 6-for-19 with three doubles
- Kelly Johnson: 1-for-15 with two walks
- Jonny Gomes: 5-for-15 with one home run and one walk
- Juan Uribe: 2-for-8
- Andrelton Simmons: 3-for-7 with one double
- Chris Johnson: 1-for-5 with one home run
- Pedro Ciriaco: 0-for-3
The Cubs get their first look at lefty Manny Banuelos in what is just his third start in the big leagues. Banuelos was once the top prospect in the Yankees system and he has really flourished with the Braves since Atlanta acquired him for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve.
Banuelos was 6-2 in 15 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett before his promotion. Banuelos gave up 24 runs, 21 earned, on 63 hits with 38 walks and 69 strikeouts in 82 2/3 innings (2.29 ERA, 1.22 WHIP). In three games, two starts, in the majors, Banuelos has allowed one run on seven hits with four walks and nine strikeouts in 12 innings … the only run was a Jonathan Lucroy homer in Milwaukee.
Joe Maddon doesn’t have a player on his active roster that has faced Manny Banuelos in a regular season big league ballgame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …