If the Cubs manage to win tonight, they’ll be 1) 20 games over .500 for the first time this season, 2) the first NL team to 70 wins, and 3) able to knock the Pirates back to an even .500. I’d say those are some solid reasons to win, wouldn’t you?
Of course, if they’re going to win, they’ll need Jon Lester to turn things around … like, immediately. We took a look into his tough stretch back after the Padres blow up on August 5th … and then he was blown up even worse by the Nationals in his next. Altogether, Lester has an 8.01 ERA since July 1. So, yeah, it’s been rough.
With the postseason in sight, the Cubs will *really* need Lester to change something and fast. He’s crucial to their October-success.
Starting opposite Lester tonight is Pirates righty Ivan Nova. Nova, 31, has been absolutely blown up by left-handed pitching this season (.290/.337/.525) which is why I’m surprised to see Kyle Schwarber out of the lineup. Then again, with how many fly balls Lester has allowed this season (a lot) and how big the Pirates’ outfield plays (particularly in left), the Cubs needed a quality outfield defense.
That said, Nova still has the ability to toss a gem every now and then, so don’t expect it to be a cake walk (lol … was anyone expecting that?).
Alright, let’s go Cubs. Let’s get a little streak going, eh?
Chicago Cubs (69-50) at Pittsburgh Pirates (61-60) – Thursday, August 16th at 6:05 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): 3.89 ERA, 5.02 FIP; 2.02 K/BB
Pirates: Ivan Nova (L): 4.42 ERA, 4.58 FIP; 3.26 K/BB
- Corey Dickerson, LF
- Starling Marte, CF
- Gregory Polanco, RF
- David Freese, 3B
- Elias Diaz, C
- Josh Bell, 1B
- Josh Harrison, 2B
- Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
- Ivan Nova, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Javier Baez, 2B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- David Bote, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ian Happ, LF
- Albert Almora, CF
- Willson Contreras, C
- Jon Lester, P
- Addison Russell, SS