Game One Hundred Fifty-Two: Cubs (96-55) vs. Reds (63-88)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 186, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
John Lackey, RHP (9-8, 3.42/1.04/3.86) vs. Robert Stephenson, RHP (2-1, 4.97/1.38/6.21)
Weather permitting … Joe Maddon gives the ball to John Lackey tonight as the Cubs look to complete the three-game sweep of the Reds.
The Cubs are one victory away from equally their win total from a year ago. And if the Cubs are able to sweep the Reds, Joe Maddon’s team will spend its final off day a season-high 42 games over .500.
The Cubs will have to figure out another rookie starting pitcher tonight in Reds’ right-hander Robert Stephenson.
With Thursday’s day off, Maddon should stick with his regulars and run out a balanced lineup. Right-handers have hit .273/.396/.500 with a .896 OPS against Stephenson in five big league starts this season. Left-handers have managed a .231/.298/.519 line with a .817 OPS.
Willson Contreras is expected to start behind the plate.
Tonight all starts with John Lackey …
John Lackey received a no decision in his last start. Lackey pitched the day after the Cubs clinched the NL Central and gave up three home runs to the Brewers. The Cubs trailed 4-2 going to the bottom of the ninth, scored two runs and Miguel Montero delivered the game winner. Lackey had good command and velocity in his third start back from the DL. Lackey completed seven innings and allowed four runs on nine hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
Lackey is 0-1 in his last three starts with a 3.50 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. And in the nine starts leading up to tonight’s game with the Reds, Lackey is 2-3 with a 2.87 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.
Lackey makes his 16th start of the season at Wrigley. Lackey is 6-4 with a 2.62 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Lackey faces the Reds for the fourth time this year. Two of Lackey’s worst starts of the season came against the Reds, one in Cincinnati on April 23 (six runs, seven hits) and the other at Wrigley on July 5 (six runs, five earned, six hits, five walks). John Lackey is 1-2 with a 6.38 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. In three games, 18 1/3 innings, Lackey has allowed 14 runs, 13 earned, on 19 hits with nine walks and 16 strikeouts.
Reds Numbers against John Lackey in 2016
- Brandon Phillips: 3-for-9 with one double
- Eugenio Suarez: 4-for-7 with one home run and two walks
- Joey Votto: 2-for-5 with three walks
- Zack Cozart: 4-for-7 with two doubles and one home run
- Adam Duvall: 0-for-5
- Scott Schebler: 1-for-5 with one triple
- Ivan DeJesus Jr.: 0-for-4
- Tucker Barnhart: 1-for-2 with one walk
- Ramon Cabrera: 1-for-3 with one double
- Tyler Holt: 1-for-2
The Cubs get their first look in a regular season game at Robert Stephenson. The Cubs faced the Reds’ dynamic young right-hander in Spring Training. Stephenson has the stuff to be successful in the big leagues for many, many years.
Stephenson makes just his sixth Major League start tonight. Stephenson is coming off a no-decision to the Pirates in which he gave up four runs on four hits with four walks and six strikeouts in five innings. The Reds lost the game 9-7. Stephenson will face a team other than the Pirates tonight for the first time in over two weeks.
Stephenson looked very good early in the season when the Reds called him up in April. He was 2-0 in two starts with a 3.00 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Since he was recalled when the rosters expanded, Stephenson is 0-1 in three starts (two against the Pirates) with a 6.75 ERA and 1.65 WHIP.
Tonight is just his second road start in the majors.
Robert Stephenson was 8-9 in 24 starts for Triple-A Louisville this season with a 4.41 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Stephenson allowed 72 runs, 67 earned, on 115 hits with 120 strikeouts and 71 walks.
The Cubs must make Stephenson work and not let him figure out how to throw strikes tonight.
No one on Joe Maddon’s active roster has faced Robert Stephenson in a Major League game that counts.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …