Game Eighty-One: Cubs (44-36) vs. Cardinals (53-28)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV Ch. 9, ESPN – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 185, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jon Lester (4-6, 3.74/1.33/3.44) vs. John Lackey (6-5, 3.30/1.24/3.44)
Weather permitting … The Cubs’ homestand continues tonight with the first of four games in three days against the Cardinals. The Cubs enter play 8 ½ games back of the team with the best record in baseball and have a chance over the next three days to make up ground in the division. The Cubs have really struggled against the Redbirds this season (2-7) but split the two games with St. Louis at Wrigley at the beginning of the season.
Jon Lester was signed for games like tonight against the Cardinals and he will have to set the right tone for the week with Miguel Montero behind the plate. David Ross is on the DL and will not catch one of Lester’s starts for the first time this season. Lester takes on former teammate John Lackey.
The Cubs announced Jake Arrieta will get the ball in game one of Tuesday’s twin bill. RHP Dallas Beeler will be recalled from Iowa for game two of the day-night doubleheader. St. Louis announced LHP Tyler Lyons and LHP Tim Cooney will pitch Tuesday’s doubleheader. The series wraps Wednesday night with Jason Hammel scheduled to take on Michael Wacha.
Joe Maddon says his team can play with the Cardinals. The Cubs have not shown they can beat them yet and were embarrassed 10 days ago in St. Louis. It is past time for the players to prove their manager is right. Taking at least three of four from the Redbirds over the next three days will keep them in the hunt for the division.
Tonight all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester rebounded from the bad start against the Dodgers with a solid outing against the Mets. Lester had better command but it is hard to tell exactly how well he pitched due to facing a struggling offense. Lester appeared to get away with a couple of mistakes. If he did and makes those same mistakes tonight, the Cardinals will take advantage. Lester allowed five hits over seven shutout innings. Lester walked one and struck out seven.
At Wrigley Field this year, Lester is 3-4 in nine starts with a 3.69 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. And in two games against the Cardinals, Lester is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. After struggling on Opening Night, Jon Lester beat the Cardinals in St. Louis on May 6.
Cardinals Numbers against Jon Lester in 2015
- Matt Carpenter: 2-for-6 with one walk
- Jason Heyward: 4-for-6 with two doubles
- Jhonny Peralta: 1-for-6 with one home run
- Peter Bourjos: 1-for-4
- Mark Reynolds: 0-for-4
- Pete Kozma: 1-for-3
- Kolten Wong: 0-for-1 with one walk
The Cubs get another shot at John Lackey tonight. Lackey has pitched extremely well over his last four starts including his outing against the Cubs on June 26. Lackey has not given up more than two earned runs while completing at least seven innings since his horrible outing in Denver. Lackey took the loss against the White Sox after allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in seven innings.
Lackey is 1-3 in seven road starts this season with a 5.40 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. Lackey’s numbers outside of Busch Stadium are really skewed because of the game against the Rockies in which he allowed 10 runs, eight earned, on 12 hits in four innings. Lackey makes his first start of the year at Wrigley but he has really owned the Cubs.
In two starts against the Cubs this season, John Lackey is 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Lackey has allowed three runs on 13 hits with four walks and 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings.
Cubs Numbers against John Lackey in 2015
- Kris Bryant: 1-for-6 with one walk
- Chris Coghlan: 3-for-6 with one double and one walk
- Miguel Montero: 1-for-6 with one walk
- Anthony Rizzo: 0-for-6
- Starlin Castro: 2-for-6
- Addison Russell: 2-for-5 with one walk
- Dexter Fowler: 1-for-5 with one double
- Mike Baxter: 0-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …