Game Sixty-One: Cubs (42-18) vs. Braves (18-43)
- Game Time – 12:35pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 185, 844
- Location – Turner Field, Atlanta
Jon Lester, LHP (7-3, 2.06/0.96/2.98) vs. John Gant, RHP (0-0, 6.17/1.71/4.50)
Joe Maddon gives the ball to Jon Lester for what will be the Cubs’ last ever game at Turner Field. The Cubs have a chance at Meat Loaf on the flight to Washington DC with a win this afternoon in the rubber game with the Braves.
It would be good to see the Cubs win the franchise’s final game at Turner Field. The Cubs have had more than its fair share of trouble at Turner Field over the last two decades. The Cubs are 29-43 all-time in the park the Braves have called home since 1997.
Jon Lester will be on the hill with David Ross behind the plate. Ross spent four years of his career with the Braves (2009-12). David Ross, Jason Heyward and Eric Hinske won a lot of games with the Braves over the years at Turner Field … and it’s safe to say they would like to win one more.
The Cubs expected to see Aaron Blair today. The Braves switched gears Saturday and decided to go with rookie right-hander John Gant and give him his first start in the majors.
A lot of patience early could lead to early runs and a chance for the Cubs to reach another goal before they leave Atlanta.
Today all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester has put together two excellent starts and the Cubs need him to keep it up today against the Braves. Lester pitched a complete game against the Dodgers and followed up that gem with eight innings of shutout ball in Philly. Lester could have pitched the ninth, but Joe Maddon decided with a 6-0 lead it was safe to pull Lester. The final score was 6-4.
Lester has posted wins in each of his last two starts. Lester has allowed one run on eight hits with no walks and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings (0.53 ERA, 0.47 WHIP).
Jon Lester faced the Braves on April 29 at Wrigley and received a no-decision. The Cubs won the game 6-1 and Lester allowed one run on seven hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in seven innings. For his career, Lester is 3-2 in six starts versus the Braves with a 2.52 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. At Turner Field, Lester is 3-1 in four starts with a 2.49 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. And the last time he was on the hill at The Ted, he had a chance at a no-no.
Braves Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Nick Markakis: 18-for-80 with six doubles and four walks
- A.J. Pierzynski: 7-for-21 with three doubles
- Jeff Francoeur: 3-for-21 with one double and one walk
- Tyler Flowers: 5-for-20 with one double and one walk
- Ender Inciarte: 0-for-7
- Jace Peterson: 0-for-4
- Daniel Castro: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Chase d’Arnaud: 1-for-3 with one triple
- Adonis Garcia: 0-for-2
The Cubs get their first look at rookie right-hander John Gant this afternoon. Gant makes the first start of his big league career subbing in the Braves rotation for the injured Williams Perez. Gant has appeared in seven Major League games, all as a reliever, and completed 11 2/3 innings. Gant has allowed nine runs, eight earned, on 15 hits with five walks and 14 strikeouts.
John Gant was 3-0 in eight games, seven starts, with a 3.14 ERA and 1.23 WHIP for Triple-A Gwinnett. Gant allowed 17 runs, 15 earned, on 40 hits with 13 walks and 48 strikeouts in 43 innings.
The Braves acquired John Gant, along with Robert Whalen, in the deal with the Mets last July 24 that sent Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe to New York.
John Gant has been compared to veteran reliever Tyler Clippard. Gant features an excellent changeup with a solid-average fastball. Gant understands how to pitch and setup hitters. Gant projects as a backend of a rotation starter in the big leagues and he makes the first start of his Major League career today.
No one on Joe Maddon’s roster has faced John Gant in a regular season big league ballgame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …