The Cubs head back to Wrigley Field to take on the first place Reds, who will play tonight without Billy Hamilton in the starting lineup, thus neutering most of the antecedent discussion about Jon Lester’s recent failures to throw to first base. Of course, at some point, Hamilton could pinch run.
The Reds will also play without catcher Devin Mesoraco, who is dealing with a troublesome hip (Mark Gonzales). That’s a nice break for the Cubs this series, who also won’t face Johnny Cueto.
Tonight’s starter is Mike Leake, the steady righty who seems to be a solid 4/5 against the rest of the league, but a nice 3 when he faces the Cubs.
Mike Olt is back in the starting lineup, so that wrist really must be feeling fine. We’ll see how he looks on swings and in the field tonight.
UPDATE: Olt scratched.
David Ross, who is totally not Lester’s personal catcher, starts behind the plate for the Cubs tonight.
A jinxing reminder: if the Cubs win this, they’ll be two games over .500 for the first time since 2009, and, if the Cardinals also lose, ditto for being in sole possession of first place in the NL Central. It’s been a long six years, man.
Cincinnati Reds (4-2) at Chicago Cubs (3-2), 7:05 CT on CSN+, and MLB.tv.
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun.
Mike Leake (4.76 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 4.98 xFIP; 1.00 K/BB)
Jon Lester (6.23 ERA, 1.62 FIP, 2.52 xFIP; 3.00 K/BB)
Cincinnati Reds Lineup
1. Kristopher Negron, CF
2. Joey Votto, 1B
3. Todd Frazier, 3B
4. Brandon Phillips, 2B
5. Marlon Byrd, LF
6. Jay Bruce, RF
7. Brayan Pena, C
8. Zack Cozart, SS
9. Mike Leake, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
3. Jorge Soler, RF
4. Chris Coghlan, LF
5. Starlin Castro, SS
Mike Olt, 3B Arismendy Alcantara, 2B
7. David Ross, C
8. Jon Lester, P
9. Jonathan Herrera, 3B