Game One Hundred Eighteen: Cubs (67-50) vs. Tigers (57-61)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WPWR My 50, ESPN – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 184, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jon Lester (8-8, 3.21/1.18/2.87) vs. Daniel Norris (2-2, 4.24/1.44/4.67)
The Cubs wrap up the two-game series and four-game season series tonight against the Detroit Tigers. After splitting the two-games in Detroit in early June, the Cubs need a win to split the four-game series with the Tigers. Detroit put on a hitting clinic Tuesday night and into early Wednesday. It will be up to the pitching staff to slow down Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and the Tigers while the offense figures out a very talented lefty in Daniel Norris.
Joe Maddon turns to Jon Lester tonight to end the Cubs’ two-game losing skid. Lester has struggled against the Tigers over the course of his career. To put it simply, on paper this is not a good match-up for the Cubs. Lester was signed to pitch important games for the Cubs. With the Pirates refusing to lose and the Giants getting closer in the Wild Card race seemingly by the day, tonight is a must win for the Cubs.
Maddon will run out his right-handed heavy lineup tonight, including David Ross behind the plate. Maddon should resist the lefty-righty splits and use a balanced lineup. Left-handers have pounded Norris to the tune of a .316/.381/.500 line in the majors while right-handers have hit .261/.333/.368. A small, but convincing sample size … especially when two of the left handed bats are Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber.
Pat Hughes will be back in the booth after a day off calling the action with Ron Coomer and Mark Grote.
Tonight all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester had a solid start his last time out. Lester gave the Brewers two runs on seven hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in six innings. Lester struggled in the third inning and allowed Milwaukee to tie the game without a ball leaving the infield. Lester committed one physical error and one mental mistake when he forgot to cover first base. When Lester focused on the batters, he was very good. He allowed the baserunners to get the best of him.
Jon Lester has pitched better than most realize and, or willing to give him credit for since July 1. Since the break, Lester is 4-0 in five starts with a 2.04 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. Lester has allowed eight runs on 27 hits with six walks and 40 strikeouts. Over his last two outings, Lester is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.
Tonight is start No. 16 for Lester at Wrigley Field this season. Lester is 6-6 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.19 WHIP (38 runs, 34 earned, on 91 hits with 23 walks and 99 strikeouts in 95 2/3 innings). Lester faces the Tigers for the second time on the season. One of his worst starts of the year came in Detroit back on June 9.
Lester lasted just 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The Cubs lost 6-0 and outside of an outing against the Dodgers (June 25), Lester has been very, very good since the start against the Tigers.
For his career, Jon Lester is 2-5 in 10 starts versus the Tigers with a 5.25 ERA and 1.71 WHIP.
Tigers Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Rajai Davis: 14-for-44 with three doubles, three triples, one home run and four walks
- Miguel Cabrera: 16-for-29 with four doubles, one home run and 10 walks
- Ian Kinsler: 8-for-35 with one double, two home runs and three walks
- Victor Martinez: 9-for-25 with two doubles, one triple, one home run and three walks
- Alex Avila: 4-for-12 with one double
- Jose Iglesias: 2-for-8 with one double
- Anthony Gose: 1-for-8 with one double
- Nick Castellanos: 3-for-7 with one home run
- J.D. Martinez: 0-for-2
- James McCann: 1-for-2 with one double
LHP Daniel Norris makes his fourth start with the Tigers tonight. Norris was acquired from the Blue Jays along with Jairo Labourt and Matt Boyd for David Price on July 30. Norris appeared in just five games for Toronto prior to the trade with was 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Norris allowed 11 runs, 10 earned, on 23 hits with 12 walks and 18 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.
Daniel Norris posted a 3-10 record in 16 starts for Triple-A Buffalo with a 4.27 ERA and 1.51 WHIP this season.
Norris was considered one of the best left-handed pitching prospects in baseball prior to the season. The 22-year old throws his fastball in the high-90s but sits mainly in the 91-95 mph range. Norris’ slider has been graded as a plus-plus pitch and his change-up has shown plus-potential. Norris also throws a curveball with 1-7 tilt.
Norris is 1-1 in three starts with the Tigers. Norris has allowed 10 runs, nine earned, on 19 hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts in 17 innings. Norris put together a quality start against the Royals his last time out and has been very good in two of his first three appearances with Detroit.
The Cubs’ front office is very familiar with Daniel Norris. He is one of the pitchers Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer talked to Alex Anthopoulos about in the discussions for Jeff Samardzija. Norris pitched one inning against the Cubs last year in Toronto (Sept. 9) and gave up a hit, a walk and struck out a batter in a scoreless frame.
The Cubs have their work cut out for them tonight.
Chris Coghlan (0-for-1) and Jorge Soler (1-for-1) are the only two players on Joe Maddon’s active roster that have faced Daniel Norris in a big league ballgame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …