Game Thirty-One: Cubs (24-6) vs. Padres (13-19)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WPWR – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 187, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jon Lester (3-1, 1.58/1.05/3.15) vs. Cesar Vargas (0-1, 1.10/1.34/4.24)
Weather permitting … The Cubs open a three-game series with the Padres tonight that has been condensed into two days. After Monday’s rainout, the Cubs and Padres will attempt to complete three games in a 24-hour timeframe.
After tonight’s single game with Jon Lester taking on Cesar Vargas, the Cubs play two on Wednesday. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to face Colin Rea in game one (12:05pm CDT) and John Lackey gets the ball in the nightcap (7:05pm CDT) against lefty Drew Pomeranz.
The Cubs were 3-3 in the six games against the Padres a year ago, 1-2 in the three games at Wrigley. And Joe Maddon’s pitching staff will have to keep several players (Jon Jay, Alexei Ramirez, Brett Wallace) in check A.J. Preller added to the Padres roster in the off-season that have had more than their fair share of big games against the Cubs.
The Cubs will not see Andrew Cashner or James Shields over the next three games but the Fernando Rodney Experience returns to Wrigley Field. The Cubs will look to keep his bow and arrow in the right field bullpen for the next two days.
Joe Maddon is expected to run out the same starting lineup he posted Monday before the game was postponed. Maddon had a starting eight of Dexter Fowler CF, Jason Heyward RF, Kris Bryant LF, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Ben Zobrist 2B, Javier Baez 3B, Addison Russell SS and David Ross C with Lester on the hill batting ninth.
Tonight all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester received an extra day of rest due to Monday’s postponement and will look to improve on his last outing. Lester picked up a win against the Pirates in a 6-2 victory in Pittsburgh. Lester completed 5 2/3 innings and did not allow a run while giving up eight hits. Lester was not happy with the way he pitched and said he would be better in his next start. From the outside looking in, Lester had a good outing. A lower pitch count would allow for a longer start which will help his team with Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader.
Lester takes the hill at Wrigley for the fourth time this year. Lester’s first three starts were against the Reds, Rockies and Braves. Lester is 0-1 in his home park with a 2.21 ERA and 1.08 WHIP (five runs, 16 hits six walks, 25 strikeouts, 20 1/3 innings).
Jon Lester is 0-1 in two career starts versus the Padres with a 2.92 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Lester faced the Padres one time last season, April 19 at Wrigley, and allowed three runs on six hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
Padres Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Melvin Upton Jr.: 14-for-66 with two doubles, three home runs and four walks
- Alexei Ramirez: 9-for-38 with three doubles and two walks
- Derek Norris: 3-for-10 with one home run and five walks
- Jon Jay: 1-for-3 with one walk
- Matt Kemp: 1-for-2 with one walk
The Cubs get their first look at rookie right-hander Cesar Vargas tonight. Vargas makes his fourth big league start. And the numbers look good after his first three.
Vargas is coming off his first decision in the majors, a loss to the Rockies at PETCO Park. Vargas gave up one run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
In three starts (Rockies, Dodgers and Cardinals), Vargas has allowed two runs on 13 hits with nine walks and 12 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings.
The Cubs will make him work which should run up his pitch count and walk totals for the season.
Cesar Vargas made two starts at Double-A San Antonio before he was called up. Vargas had two no-decisions. In 12 2/3 innings, the 24-year old right-hander allowed two runs on five hits with a walk and 14 strikeouts (1.42 ERA, 0.47 WHIP). Vargas pitched at two different levels in the Yankees system a year ago (Double- and Triple-A) and was 6-0 in 46 games, no starts, with a 3.08 ERA and 1.27 WHIP.
No one on the Cubs active roster has faced Cesar Vargas in a regular season big league ballgame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …