The Chicago Cubs followed up a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in Game 3 of the World Series with a gut-wrenching 7-2 loss in Game 4.
Back-to-back losses have put the Cubs on the brink of elimination, but they have Jon Lester — their best pitcher — going for them in the final game of the season at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs went 24-8 in Lester’s regular season starts and 3-1 in four postseason starts. The team lost consecutive Lester starts just twice in 2016 and hasn’t done so since early July.
Lester went 7-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 12 starts that came after a Cubs loss during the regular season, posting a 1.03 WHIP and limiting batters to a .213 average and .341 slugging percentage.
He has been superb in the postseason, too, as he has pitched to a 1.69 ERA while limiting opponents (102 batters faced) to a .208/.255/.302 slash line over 26.2 innings of work.
In short, there might not be anyone the Cubs would rather have dealing on the mound.
Pitching for the Indians is Trevor Bauer, who struggled in his Game 2 start. Bauer has been touched up this postseason as hitters own a .324/.390/.595 slash line in 41 plate appearances. He has struck out nine batters and walked four in nine innings of work over three starts.
Bauer has made one career start at Wrigley Field and it resulted in a 6-0 Indians win on June 16, 2015. Bauer tossed seven shutout innings, scattering four hits and three walks while striking out seven.
For more on Cleveland’s Game 5 starter, I encourage you to read Michael’s recent analysis prior to Bauer’s Game 2 start. The Cubs will get another Indians starter on short rest. Here’s hoping they capitalize on any chances they get.
Cleveland Indians at Chicago Cubs (Indians lead 3-1) – 7:00 pm CT on FOX, 670 The Score, ESPN Radio
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun.
Cubs: Jon Lester (L): 2.44 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 3.47 xFIP; 3.79 K/BB
Indians: Trevor Bauer (R): 4.26 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 4.13 xFIP; 2.40 K/BB
- Rajai Davis, CF
- Jason Kipnis, 2B
- Francisco Lindor, SS
- Mike Napoli, 1B
- Carlos Santana, LF
- Jose Ramirez, 3B
- Brandon Guyer, RF
- Roberto Perez, C
- Trevor Bauer, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, LF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Javier Baez, 2B
- David Ross, C
- Jon Lester, P