Pregame Notes: Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs look to win series vs Padres


After another dramatic walk-off win by the Chicago Cubs to take game two of this weekend series against the San Diego Padres, Jon Lester takes the mound in hopes of picking up his first win of the season.

Not only is Chicago’s southpaw hoping to record his first win as a member of this organization, but the Cubs have won two consecutive series’ from both the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds.

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Lester (0-1, 7.84 ERA) will pick up his third Wrigley Field start of the year and worked against this new-look Padres club during Cactus League play.

In that outing against Matt Kemp and company, Lester was absolutely pummeled as he was tagged for six earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk in just 3 1/3 innings.

Manager Joe Maddon later announced that Jon was experiencing dead arm and would eventually miss the rest of the spring, allowing Eric Jokisch to fill in for the Chicago Cubs. Hopefully, things finally go his way after he gave up six earned runs in six innings against the Reds in Monday’s win which featured a walk-off RBI single by Arismendy Alcantara.

Outfielder Jorge Soler has been quiet since his two home run game this past Monday, but the Cubs (6-4) received a huge hand from catcher Miguel Montero in their 7-6 win yesterday. Montero, 31, clubbed his first two home runs as a Cub, sending both pitches to left and right field, eventually giving his team a 6-2 lead in the seventh inning.

Before the Padres (7-5) came back during the top of the ninth, rookie third baseman Kris Bryant recorded his first hit and RBI as a Cub after striking out three times in his big league debut on Friday. Bryant’s RBI single dropped in center field, tying the game at two in the top of the fifth, and found himself standing on second base after Anthony Rizzo slid safely into third.

He took a better approach at the plate, drawing three walks and reaching on a single in the 11th inning.

Starting opposite of Lester will be another former Cub, Andrew Cashner. Cashner (0-2, 4.09 ERA) was acquired in exchange for Rizzo after Theo Epstein took over in Chicago. Prior to landing in San Diego, he appeared in 60 games and picked up one start as a member of the Chicago Cubs, recording 58 strikeouts, 34 walks while giving up nine home runs, and 31 earned runs in 65 frames.

In his latest outing, Cashner managed to strikeout nine D’backs as they scored four unearned runs on seven hits against him over six innings of work. San Diego pitchers have received support from multiple home runs and a late inning rally yesterday afternoon that erased a four-run deficit in the ninth inning.

The second place Cubs – who enter today’s game with 12 stolen bases – sit in a first place tie in the N.L. with the Reds in this category and have the second most in the league. Rizzo recorded two stolen bases yesterday.

Here’s the starting lineup for this afternoon rubber match:

First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 pm central time and will be aired live on both WGN and WBBM 780.

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