Pregame Notes: Chicago Cubs begin weekend series vs Brewers


Now that the first month of the 2015 regular season is officially in the books, it’s time for the Chicago Cubs to get back to work as they welcome the Milwaukee Brewers to begin May.

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As we all know, or at least should be aware of, the Cubs (12-8) were able to finish April with a winning record for the first time since 2008. Granted they could have about 15 wins under their belts, but a winning record is a winning record no matter if it’s two or three games above .500.

Taking the mound this afternoon for Chicago will be winless southpaw Jon Lester. Lester (0-2, 6.23 ERA) had himself a solid outing on the road against the Cincinnati Reds despite receiving a no-decision after working through six innings of work.

In those six innings, Lester surrendered three earned runs on five hits while issuing one free pass and striking out a season-high 10 batters. Those five hits against the Reds may not seem like a whole lot, but it’s actually a season-low for Chicago’s huge off-season pickup as he entered Cubs’ road debut with 24 across three outings against Cincinnati at home, St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres.

After a disappointing start to a brand new chapter with the Chicago Cubs, Lester is due for a breakout performance and the opportunity of doing so could very well happen against this struggling Brewers (5-17) team who sit at the bottom of the N.L. Central.

Starting opposite of Lester in the weekend opener will be another winless wonder in Wily Peralta. Peralta (0-3, 5.44 ERA) hadn’t had much luck on the mound until his most recent outing while hosting the Cardinals – the same day Adam Wainwright suffered his season-ending Achilles injury when stumbling out of the batters box.

Milwaukee’s struggling right-hander entered that contest against the first-place Cards with 12 earned runs on 25 hits, four home runs given up and an 8/4 K/BB ratio. Peralta exited his last start after seven solid innings, holding St. Louis to just two earned runs on seven hits, two walks, and four punch-outs before handing the game over to the bullpen.

The absence of outfielder Carlos Gomez has surely hurt this team as he was placed on the 15-day disabled list when he suffered a right hamstring injury on Apr. 15 vs St. Louis. Gomez suffered the injury while running down the first base line in the ninth inning but did take some swings in the batting cage and a successful outfield workout just three days ago.

Prior to landing on the disabled list, Gomez was hitting .235 with one home run, six RBI, and four doubles in 34 at-bats. Not only has Milwaukee been without Gomez, but they lost Jonathan Lucroy to a broken toe that he had suffered on Apr. 21.

Unlike Gomez who is expected to return sometime this weekend, Lucroy will likely be out until June. The 28-year-old catcher was off to a slow start, hitting a weak .133/.216/.178 with one RBI, one triple, and nine strikeouts before taking a Zack Cozart foul tip off his left foot.

Here’s a look at today’s starting lineup:

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

Next: Cubs: Top Five Surprises of April