Game One Hundred Eleven: Cubs (69-41) vs. Angels (49-62)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
John Lackey, RHP (8-7, 3.70/1.08/3.77) vs. Jered Weaver, RHP (8-8, 5.11/1.45/5.42)
The Cubs return to the field tonight and kickoff a 10-game homestand with the first of two against Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels.
The Cubs started the season in Anaheim and swept the two-game series at ‘The Big A.’ The Cubs are 11-4 in Interleague play with five more games on the schedule, including these two in the regular season versus the Junior Circuit.
Nothing has gone the way the Angels hoped it would this season. Mike Scioscia’s team begins play tonight 13 games under .500 and 16 back of the first place Rangers with another lost season on tap in Anaheim.
The Cubs pitching staff will have to keep Mike Trout in check for the next two days. And one of the best hitters of all-time returns to Wrigley and a park he’s had a ton of success in over the years.
Albert Pujols is struggling this season but the future first ballot Hall of Famer has crushed Cubs pitching and loves hitting at Wrigley Field. Pujols has hit .301/.402/.620 with 36 doubles, two triples and 56 home runs for a 1.022 OPS in 180 games against the Cubs … and at Wrigley Field, Pujols has a career OPS of 1.025 while hitting .302/.405/.620 with 17 doubles, one triple and 28 home runs in 88 games.
After tonight’s match-up of veteran right-handers and former teammates John Lackey and Jered Weaver, Jason Hammel is scheduled to face former Cubs’ farmhand Ricky Nolasco in the series and season series finale with the Halos on Wednesday (7:05pm CDT).
Joe Maddon should have a balanced lineup tonight behind John Lackey. Pitchers like Jered Weaver have caused the Cubs a lot of problems this season and it will be interesting to see how the offense, especially the young hitters attack him. Left-handers have a .817 OPS against Weaver this season with 18 extra basehits (eight doubles, 10 home runs) and a .289/.348/.469 slash line. Right-handers have mashed against Weaver to a .868 OPS and 32 extra basehits (17 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs) while hitting .307/.345/.523.
Tonight all starts with John Lackey …
John Lackey notched a quality start his last time out. Lackey gave up three runs on seven hits to the Marlins in seven innings. Lackey struck out eight without walking a batter. The Cubs won 5-4 in walk-off fashion and are 2-0 the last two times Lackey has taken the ball.
Lackey is 1-2 in his last four starts (Cubs 2-2) with a 3.67 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Lackey has allowed 11 runs, all earned, on 22 hits with five walks and 25 strikeouts in 27 innings. Lackey has looked a little better and has put his team in a position to win the last two games.
John Lackey has pitched well, for the most part, at Wrigley this season. Lackey is 5-4 in 11 starts with a 2.83 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.
Tonight marks the seventh time John Lackey has started a game in his career against the organization that selected him in the second round of the 1999 draft. Lackey missed the Angels at the beginning of the season and is 4-2 in his career versus the Halos with a 4.02 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.
Angels Career Numbers against John Lackey
- Yunel Escobar: 13-for-33 with four doubles and three walks
- Cliff Pennington: 1-for-16
- Albert Pujols: 1-for-3
- Mike Trout: 1-for-3 with one home run
- Andrelton Simmons: 1-for-2
- Shane Robinson: 1-for-1
The Cubs offense has to deal with the crafty right-hander Jered Weaver tonight. And pitchers, like Weaver, have had a ton of success against the Cubs.
If Jered Weaver is on as he was against the Red Sox two starts ago he can pitch enough to shut a team down. Weaver is coming off a not-so-good outing against the struggling A’s in which he gave up four runs, three earned, on nine hits with no walks and a strikeout in six innings.
Weaver is 1-1 in his last four starts (Angels 3-1) with a 4.37 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. On the road this season, Weaver is 4-4 in nine starts with a 5.03 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.
Jered Weaver makes his third career regular season start against the Cubs tonight, second at Wrigley Field. Weaver is 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA and 0.69 WHIP. Weaver has given up three runs, one earned, on eight hits with a walk and 16 strikeouts in 13 innings.
Ben Zobrist (8-for-27 with three doubles, one triple, one home run and one walk), Dexter Fowler (0-for-5 with two walks) and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2 with one walk) are the only three players on Maddon’s roster that have faced Jered Weaver in a regular season big league ballgame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …