Following a complete game shutout by Kyle Hendricks and series win over the San Diego Padres, the Chicago Cubs will call upon southpaw Jon Lester as they continue their West Coast road trip, this time against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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In yesterday’s series clincher, young bucks’ Kris Bryant and Addison Russell provided the run support for Hendricks, launching two home runs. Bryant’s two-run shot went to dead center field and came in the top of the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 10 games in front of family, friends, former coaches, and comedian Jeff Garlin.
Russell drilled a solo home run to left field at the top half of the seventh inning while Cubs’ (23-17) broadcaster Jim Deshaies was talking about the team wanting to add some insurance. Both Chicago rookies combined 3-for-8 with three RBI and three strikeouts in the series finale.
Tonight, not only will they be looking to help extend their teams win streak, but their starting pitchers as well. Lester (4-2, 3.70 ERA) takes the mound in hopes of recording his fifth straight win to stay perfect in the month of May.
As we all know, the 31-year-old lefty was off to a slow start back in April, losing two games and picking up two no-decisions in four starts to begin the year. Opposing teams hammered Lester for 15 earned runs on 29 hits in 21 2/3 frames, bumping up his ERA to nearly eight in his second outing of the season while hosting the Cincinnati Reds.
Since then, Lester has dropped his earned run average to under four and has kept teams from scoring more than five earned runs this month compared to his high total in April. His last outing against the Pirates was, in fact, his best as a Chicago Cub to date as he held Pittsburgh to just one run on nine hits while posting a 7/1 K/BB ratio across seven frames.
The man standing in Jon’s way from recording his fifth straight win will be 29-year-old right-hander, Josh Collmenter. Collmenter (3-5, 5.36 ERA) has dropped two straight games for the Arizona Diamondbacks (19-21) against the Washington Nationals, and most recently the Philadelphia Phillies just five days ago.
He lasted only just 1 1/3 with the Nationals in town, surrendering nine earned runs on eight hits including two home runs prior to handing things over to the bullpen. His outing against Philly lasted 5 2/3 longer, but still managed to give up four earned runs on six hits and a home run.
One player Collmenter needs to look out for in this outing will be Cubs’ first baseman, Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo currently owns a career .400 average against the right-hander with a home run and three RBI in 10 at-bats.
First pitch is slated for 8:40 pm central time, and will be aired live on CSN+, WBBM 780.