For the second time in their last two series, the Cubs face a decisive game three against one of the better teams in all of baseball. Hopefully, this one goes better than the last one.
And why wouldn’t it! The Cubs have Jon Lester on the mound, and he had been on a really fantastic three-game stretch (22.0 IP, 5ER, 20Ks, 2BBs) before an abbreviated outing against the Diamondbacks (4.0, 3ER, 3BB, 9Ks) last week.
Lester wasn’t really all too bad in that one, but five hits, three walks, and a wild pitch in just 4.0 innings is far from anything to write home about. And when you cram nine strikeouts into that short time span, it’s easy to see how the pitch count can balloon. And as for the runs, well, if you remember, this was the game that Joe Maddon sent Lester back out for there for the fifth inning so he could get the “Win.”
It was a poor decision and led to two of Lester’s three earned runs. Had Maddon just kept him back like he probably should have, we’d just be talking about an effective, but poorly paced, performance.
On the other mound today, the Nationals are sending 24-year-old rookie Erick Fedde. Fedde is making the second Major League start of his career (despite starting the season out in Double-A), because the Nationals are without Gio Gonzalez, who went on paternity leave earlier this weekend (congrats!).
And while it may have been nice to catch a glimpse of some of the Nationals starters for postseason preparation purposes (you know, fingers crossed), it’ll be even nicer if the Cubs don’t throw away a beautiful opportunity to win a tough series against a really good team, while their best starters are out.
The Cubs are averaging 6.6 runs over the past five games. Let’s see if they can turn it up early on an inexperienced rookie pitching in a fairly big game at Wrigley Field.
Chicago Cubs (58-51) at Washington Nationals (64-44) – 1:20 CT on CSN-C, 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): 3.96 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 3.61 xFIP; 3.31 K/BB
Nationals: Erick Fedde (R): Only 4.0 innings worth of MLB stats.
- Brian Goodwin, CF
- Howie Kendricks, LF
- Bryce Harper, RF
- Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
- Daniel Murphy, 2B
- Anthony Rendon, 3B
- Matt Wieters, C
- Wilmer Difo, SS
- Erick Fedde, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Jon Jay, CF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Ian Happ, 2B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Jon Lester, P