Game Ninety-Five: Cubs (51-43) vs. Phillies (34-63)
- Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV Ch. 9 – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jon Lester (5-8, 3.37/1.21/3.06) vs. Jerome Williams (3-7, 6.43/1.70/5.48)
The Cubs open a six-game homestand today with the first of three with the Phillies and begin an important stretch of 17 games in 17 days. The Cubs next day off is not until Aug. 10 and there are games against the Phillies, Rockies, Brewers, Pirates and Giants on the schedule. The Cubs play teams they must beat in order to catch the Pirates and keep the Giants behind them in the NL Wild Card race.
The Cubs must not take the next three days lightly. The Phillies are a mess and no longer have Ryne Sandberg calling the shots. Pete Mackanin, who interviewed for the Cubs’ job that went to Dale Sveum, is the interim manager until the front office gets all the stuff sorted out. The Phillies are sending their two best starters to the hill on Saturday and Sunday, plus if the Phillies have the lead late, Jonathan Papelbon has been lights out this year.
The Cubs split the six games with the Phillies a year ago and will face a former Cubs’ starter today. Jon Lester gets the ball in game one and will take on veteran right hander Jerome Williams. The Cubs acquired Williams, along with David Aardsma from the Giants more than 10 years ago (May 28, 2005) for LaTroy Hawkins. Oakland selected Williams off waiver from the Cubs on Sept. 5, 2006.
Game two will be a match-up of Jake Arrieta and Cole Hamels. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are having discussions with the Phillies about Hamels and unless the front office is finally able to pry him from Ruben Amaro Jr. and company, the Cubs will see him on Saturday afternoon. The series wraps with Jason Hammel and Aaron Nola on the hill Sunday afternoon.
David Ross will be in the starting lineup for the next two days and Kyle Schwarber should catch three of the six games on the homestand.
This afternoon all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester is coming off a very good start in Atlanta and has pitched better over the last month than most would like to admit. Thanks to the official scorer changing his mind, Lester took a no-hitter into the eighth inning last Saturday. Lester gave up a hit to A.J. Pierzynski with one out in the eighth and was out of the game before he could complete the inning. Lester allowed just two hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in the 4-0 win over the Braves.
Lester is 1-2 in his last four starts with a 1.27 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. Lester has allowed seven runs, four earned, on 16 hits with four walks and 30 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.
At Wrigley this year, Lester is 3-6 in 11 starts with a 3.46 ERA and 1.24 WHIP (30 runs, 26 earned, on 66 hits with 18 walks and 66 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings).
Today is Jon Lester’s sixth career start against the Phillies. Lester is 4-0 in the first five with a 1.59 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Lester beat the Phillies last Sept. 19 when he was with the A’s. Jon Lester allowed one run (solo homer by Ryan Howard) on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings.
Phillies Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Jeff Francoeur: 1-for-15 with one walk
- Carlos Ruiz: 0-for-11
- Ryan Howard: 2-for-11 with one home run and one walk
- Ben Revere: 3-for-10 with one walk
- Freddy Galvis: 2-for-5 with one home run
- Andres Blanco: 1-for-3
- Maikel Franco: 0-for-3
- Darin Ruf: 1-for-3 with one double
Jerome Williams has been on the DL for the last month with a strained left hamstring and will make his first start since June 16. Williams was rocked in Baltimore in a game that is remembered for Jeff Francoeur pitching the last two innings, the bullpen phone and Chase Utley’s outburst. Williams gave up six runs on four hits with two walks and no strikeouts in two-thirds of an inning.
In the three starts leading up to his stint on the DL, Jerome Williams was 0-2 with an 11.45 ERA and 2.27 WHIP. In seven road starts this year, Williams is 0-5 with an 8.72 ERA and 2.00 WHIP.
Jerome Williams makes the first start of his career against the Cubs today. Williams owns a 2-5 record in 10 games, eight starts, he made with the Cubs at Wrigley during the 2005-06 seasons (4.24 ERA, 1.43 WHIP).
David Ross (1-for-2), Taylor Teagarden (0-for-3) and Chris Denorfia (0-for-1) are the only three players on Joe Maddon’s roster that have faced Jerome Williams in a regular season game.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …