All right, whew!
I feel better. Do you feel better? Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs locked in their first series win in their last FOUR tries, which means what happens today is all gravy-ish.
Would I like to see the Cubs notch their first series sweep of the year (at home, at the start of a home stand, against a team that was ahead of them in the division at the start of the series)?! Of course! But all you can ask for is series wins, and the Cubs have done just that. So take that sigh of relief. The Cubs won this one, and it feels good.
But then again, I’m greedy and today’s pitching matchup, on paper, heavily favors the Cubs. Starting for the good guys today is Cubs’ ace, Jon Lester. Lester hasn’t sprinted off the starting line this year (3.45 ERA, 3.68 FIP), but he is striking plenty of batters out (24.6%) and has been really good at home.
This season at Wrigley Field, opposing batters are hitting just .165/.260/.371 (.238 wOBA) off Lester, despite owning a truly ridiculous .415 wOBA on the road. I have no clue what’s been different for the Cubs’ veteran lefty at Wrigley, but that’s where he’ll be today. We’ll worry about that other part another time.
Standing between Lester and the Cubs’ first series sweep of the year is Reds left-hander Amir Garrett. Garrett, 25, made his Major League debut earlier this season, but hasn’t found much success just yet (6 starts, 4.25 ERA, 4.98 FIP). His issues include a low strikeout rate (18.9%) and a relatively high walk rate (9.5%). Hitters own just a .220 average against Garrett this season, but it’s not yet clear that his .235 BABIP is at its true level.
As Brett mentioned earlier, Garrett struggles against righties more than lefties, so the Cubs loaded the lineup with right-handed batters. Just Anthony Rizzo (and Jon Lester) will hit from the left-side of the plate today, so Garrett’ll have his work cut out for him.
Come on … series sweep. Give it to me.
Chicago Cubs (20-19) at Cincinnati Reds (19-20) – 1:20 CT on CSN-C, MLBN 670 The Score
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun today.
Cubs: Jon Lester (L): 3.45, 3.66 FIP, 3.59 xFIP; 2.45 K/BB
Reds: Amir Garrett (R): 4.25 ERA, 4.98 FIP, 4.60 xFIP; 2.00 K/BB
Cincinnati Reds Lineup:
- Billy Hamilton, CF
- Zack Cozart, SS
- Joey Votto, 1B
- Adam Duvall, LF
- Eugenio Suarez, 3B
- Scott Schebler, RF
- Jose Peraza, 2B
- Tucker Barnhart, C
- Amir Garrett, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ian Happ, LF
- Willson Contreras, C
- Addison Russell, SS
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Jon Lester, P
- Albert Almora, CF