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wrigley outfieldIf the weather holds up, the Cubs will go for the strange series win today over the Padres. I can’t decide how many of those first two games the Cubs “should” have won, so I guess splitting them is fair. The rain is supposed to hold off until around 3 or 4pm, so it’d be a good day to get an early lead.

It’s start number three for Jon Lester, who’s first two outings have been marred by a lack of precise command, a lot of balls falling in for hits, and a lot of pickoff discussion. That’s all fair game for this start, too, as Lester needs to put together a good end-to-end start – complete with a throw to first or two – before folks will stop wondering whether he’s fine and ready to lead this staff. Given the track record and the flukiness of some of what’s happened in his first two starts, I’m still not concerned. This will be the first time Lester throws on regular rest after being on a somewhat regular schedule.

And the Cubs could really use a nice seven or eight inning outing from Lester, because the bullpen is currently a little used up – though they did add Gonzalez Germen today.

On the other side, it’s former Cub Andrew Cashner going for the Padres. He’s been down a little this year, but you can bet he’ll be extra amped for today, and it’s not like he doesn’t have great stuff. That’s three straight tough righties for the Cubs this weekend. Unlike Tyson Ross and James Shields, though, Cashner isn’t a huge strikeout guy – in the last few years, he’s kind of reinvented himself as a command/control guy, issuing very few walks, and inducing a lot of grounders.

Justin Upton sits for the Padres today, which is good, because it allows them to get in their contractually-obligated volume of players named Wil(l).

Game Info

San Diego Padres (7-5) at Chicago Cubs (6-4), 1:20 CT on WGN-9 (or your local affiliate), and MLB.tv.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Andrew Cashner (4.09 ERA, 4.90 FIP, 2.73 xFIP; 3.75 K/BB)

versus

Jon Lester (7.84 ERA, 1.64 FIP, 2.44 xFIP; 5.00 K/BB)

San Diego Padres Lineup

1. Wil Myers, CF

2. Yangervis Solarte, 1B

3. Matt Kemp, RF

4. Derek Norris, C

5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B

6. Jedd Gyorko, 2B

7. Will Venable, LF

8. Clint Barmes, SS

9. Andrew Cashner, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Jorge Soler, RF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Kris Bryant, 3B

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Chris Coghlan, LF

7. David Ross, C

8. Jon Lester, P

9. Jonathan Herrera, 2B

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