A Cubs win tonight would accomplish a whole lot:
- Third consecutive series sweep,
- Longest winning streak of the season (8),
- Most games above .500 (19)
- Magic Number down to (at least) 8, and
- Michael very happy.
Plus, even if the Brewers and Cardinals also win tonight, a Cubs victory against the Rays would mean that the Cubs could eliminate the Brewers with a four-game road-sweep over the weekend while bringing the Cardinals elimination number down to, at a minimum, 2.
But let’s just start with a win tonight, shall we?
On the mound for the Cubs tonight is lefty Jon Lester. Earlier, we took a really deep dive into his unusually large lefty/righty splits this season (Lester’s struggled mightily against righties this year), so it’s worth pointing out that the Rays have three lefties in the lineup tonight (Kevin Kiermaier, Logan Morrison, and Brad Miller). Hopefully, Lester can make due and put the Cubs in a position to win.
His last two starts: 12.0 IP, 11H, 3ER, 8BBs, 10Ks.
Starting opposite Lester is another lefty, Blake Snell. Snell also has very big splits against righties (.330 wOBA) and lefties (.243 wOBA) this season, so Joe has loaded the lineup with right-handers, with the exception of Anthony Rizzo and Jon Jay, both of whom are reverse-split guys.
On paper, I like the Cubs matchup, but we’ll have to see if they can come through and accomplish some things with their 8th win.
Chicago Cubs (84-66) at Tampa Bay Rays (73-78) – 6:10 CT on WGN, 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): 4.30 ERA, 4.05 FIP, 3.75 xFIP; 3.07 K/BB
Rays: Blake Snell (L): 4.25 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 4.74 xFIP; 1.92 K/BB
Tampa Bay Rays:
- Kevin Kiermaier, CF
- Steven Souza Jr., RF
- Evan Longoria, 3B
- Logan Morrison, 1B
- Wilson Ramos, C
- Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
- Cesar Puello, DH
- Brad Miller, 2B
- Peter Bourjos, LF
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Addison Russell, SS
- Ian Happ, LF
- Jon Jay, DH