Game One Hundred Thirteen: Cubs (71-41) vs. Cardinals (60-54)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 89, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jon Lester, LHP (12-4, 2.93/1.09/3.83) vs. Carlos Martinez, RHP (10-7, 3.29/1.20/3.86)
It’s Round Four of the Cubs-Cardinals series. And the Cubs have a chance over the next four days to bury the Cardinals in the division.
From the comments made by several of the players, the Cubs have no plans of letting up and view the next four games with the Cardinals as a way to create even more space in the NL Central, while at the same time making it that much harder for the Redbirds to make the post-season tournament as one of the Wild Cards.
The Cardinals are desperate. Mike Matheny’s group thinks it can catch the Cubs with 50 games left on the schedule and retain the division crown. The Cardinals have a way landing on its feet, always have and always will. The Cubs have an opportunity to make life a little more difficult for the Cardinals for the remainder of the season.
The Cubs are 4-5 in the first nine games of the season series with the Cardinals. After winning four of six in the two series in St. Louis, the Cubs allowed the Cardinals to sweep the three-game series at Wrigley (June 20-22). The Cubs did not have Dexter Fowler for Cardinals’ series in June. And the Cubs simply don’t go without Fowler.
The Cubs have outscored the Cardinals in the first nine games 41-35. But for as good as the Cubs are at Wrigley Field (39-17), the Cardinals are just as good on the road (32-21).
The Cubs enter play 12 games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central. The Cubs must step on their throat and not let up for the next four days and 36 innings.
Jon Lester gets the ball in the opener and will have to keep the Cardinals off the bases while his teammates figure out Carlos Martinez in what is only his second career start at Wrigley. Lester has been really good at Wrigley and with the bullpen in flux right now, Joe Maddon could use at least a strong seven from his lefty.
After tonight’s matchup of Lester and Martinez, Jake Arrieta takes on Adam Wainwright on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT). Kyle Hendricks gets to face righty Luke Weaver, the Redbirds second best pitching prospect, in his Major League debut. Round Four wraps up on Sunday night with John Lackey opposing Mike Leake.
The Cubs will see flame-thrower Alex Reyes this weekend. The Cardinals top prospect and one of the best pitching prospects in the game now resides in Matheny’s bullpen. Reyes has devastating stuff and regularly hits triple digits on the radar gun.
The Cubs are looking to win their 10th straight game for the first time under Joe Maddon.
Tonight all starts with Jon Lester …
Jon Lester opened the series last weekend in Oakland with a quality start and set the tone for the series. The Cubs will ask for more of the same from Lester tonight in the first of four with the Cardinals. Lester gave up two runs on six hits with no walks in seven innings. Lester struck out eight and recorded his third quality start in four outings.
Lester is 3-0 in his last four starts with a 2.55 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Lester has allowed seven runs on 18 hits with 10 walks and 25 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings. Tonight is Lester’s 11th start at Wrigley. The Cubs’ lefty is 6-2 in 10 starts with a 1.99 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.
Tonight is Lester’s first start of the season against the Cardinals.
Jon Lester is 1-3 in six regular season career starts versus the Cardinals with a 2.56 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Last season, Lester was 1-3 in five starts against the Redbirds with a 2.59 ERA and 1.12 WHIP.
Cardinals Career Numbers against Jon Lester
- Jhonny Peralta: 14-for-51 with three doubles, three home runs and five walks
- Matt Carpenter: 5-for-24 with one double, one triple and three walks
- Yadier Molina: 4-for-22 with one double and two walks
- Matt Holliday: 8-for-21 with one double, one home run and one walk
- Kolten Wong: 2-for-10 with one double and one walk
- Brandon Moss: 2-for-9
- Stephen Piscotty: 2-for-7 with one double, one home run and two walks
- Tommy Pham: 2-for-7 with two home runs and one walk
- Matt Adams: 0-for-6
- Carlos Martinez: 0-for-3
- Jedd Gyorko: 2-for-2
First up for the Cardinals this series is the fiery right-hander Carlos Martinez. The Cardinals expected more from Martinez this season. After getting on track in June and July, Martinez has struggled in each of his last two appearances and it’s up to the Cubs to keep him in his funk.
Martinez was hit rather hard his last time out against the Braves. Martinez gave up seven runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts in five innings. Martinez is 2-1 in his last four starts with a 5.25 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.
Carlos Martinez is actually a lot better outside of St. Louis than at Busch Stadium this season. Martinez is 6-1 in nine road starts with a 2.28 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Martinez faces the Cubs for the third time on the season tonight.
Martinez is 1-1 in the first two starts of the season against the Cubs with a 5.25 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. Martinez has allowed seven runs on nine hits with six walks and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings. For his career, Martinez is 3-1 in 16 games, six starts, against the Cubs with a 4.74 ERA and 1.40 WHIP … and at Wrigley, Martinez is 1-0 in seven games, one start, with a 2.77 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.
The Cubs must make him work tonight. If the Cubs can get to Carlos Martinez early, the offense has a chance to put a lot of runs on the old scoreboard tonight.
Cubs Career Numbers against Carlos Martinez
- Anthony Rizzo: 4-for-17 with one double, two home runs and three walks
- Dexter Fowler: 6-for-17 with one double and three walks
- Kris Bryant: 2-for-12 with two walks
- Miguel Montero: 2-for-12 with one double and three walks
- Chris Coghlan: 2-for-11 with one double and three walks
- Addison Russell: 4-for-11
- Jason Heyward: 3-for-8 with one double
- David Ross: 1-for-7
- Javier Baez: 2-for-6
- Ben Zobrist: 2-for-5 with one walk
- Jon Lester: 2-for-5
- Jorge Soler: 1-for-1 with one double
- Matt Szczur: 0-for-1
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …