Game One Hundred Eight: Cubs (59-48) vs. Giants (59-49)
- 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 (6-8, 3.26/1.17/2.94) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (7-7, 4.16/1.38/4.89)
The Cubs enter play today a half-game in front of the Giants for the second NL Wild Card, and will shoot for two in a row over the Giants this afternoon behind Jon Lester.
Jon Lester was signed for games like today. Joe Maddon needs more than just a quality start from Lester after using his bullpen to cover five innings Thursday night. Lester has been very good of late and will be pitching on short rest after the eventual rainout Monday in Pittsburgh ended his night after 1 2/3 innings.
The Giants announced prior to Thursday’s game that Ryan Vogelsong, not Mike Leake, will start today’s game. Leake was scratched with a left hamstring strain and could miss his next two starts. Joe Maddon should have a left-handed heavy lineup with Vogelsong on the hill. Left handers (.257/.335/.472) have hit better than right handers (.242/.316/.309) against Vogelsong this year.
David Ross will be behind the plate with Kyle Schwarber expected in left field. It will be interesting to see how Joe Maddon structures his lineup and where Chris Coghlan plays. Will Maddon start Coghlan at second base with Addison Russell at shortstop? Or will Maddon give Jorge Soler a breather and have Coghlan play right field?
Not matter the batting order, the Cubs must continue to ‘Play Stupid’ and create a little space in the standings with the Giants.
Today all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester had a good start to his last outing in Pittsburgh. A two-hour and nine-minute rain delay in the bottom of the second inning kept Lester from returning in a game that was cancelled after a second delay and just four innings.
Lester’s last official start was a rather good one against the Rockies on July 29. Lester allowed two runs on five hits with a walk and 14 strikeouts in eight innings. Lester ended up one strikeout of his career high and placed himself in the organization’s record books with the outstanding effort. The Cubs need more of the Lester that pitched in July this afternoon.
In the six starts leading up to Monday’s cancellation Lester was 2-2 with a 1.66 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. Lester has stayed out of the headlines because of the success he’s had on the mound. Over his last 43 1/3 innings, Lester has allowed 11 runs, eight earned, on 28 hits with five walks and 50 strikeouts.
Jon Lester is 4-6 in 13 games at Wrigley this season with a 3.27 ERA and 1.17 WHIP and he makes the third start of his career against the Giants today.
Lester has two wins in the two games he has started against the Giants. Lester has allowed just one run on 11 hits to the Giants in 17 1/3 innings with three walk and 12 strikeouts (0.52 ERA, 0.81 WHIP). Today is the first start Lester has made against the Giants since Aug. 19, 2013. Lester pitched 8 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, scattered six hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Giants Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Nori Aoki: 4-for-13 with one walk
- Hunter Pence: 1-for-9 with one walk
- Buster Posey: 2-for-8
- Mike Leake: 0-for-5
- Brandon Belt: 0-for-4
- Brandon Crawford: 0-for-3
- Justin Maxwell: 0-for-2 with one walk
Ryan Vogelsong is getting the start today and not Mike Leake. Vogelsong is making his 17th start of the season in his 25th appearance. Vogelsong has not started a game since July 11. Vogelsong gave up four runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings to the Phillies. Vogelsong is 6-6 in 16 starts this year with a 4.00 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Vogelsong has allowed 41 runs, 40 earned, on 76 hits with 37 walks and 65 strikeouts in 90 innings in a starting role. And in 14 games on the road, nine starts, Vogelsong is 5-5 with a 5.08 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.
Ryan Vogelsong is 5-6 in 17 career appearances, 11 starts, against the Cubs with a 5.68 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. And at Wrigley Field, Vogelsong is 3-4 in 10 games, seven starts, with a 6.00 ERA and 1.69 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Ryan Vogelsong
- Starlin Castro: 5-for-18 with one double and one triple
- Dexter Fowler: 3-for-11 with one double, one triple and one walk
- Chris Coghlan: 1-for-9 with one double
- Chris Denorfia: 2-for-6 with two walks
- Jonathan Herrera: 1-for-7
- Anthony Rizzo: 3-for-5 with one double and two home runs
- David Ross: 1-for-3 with one double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …