While we wait to see if rookie third baseman Kris Bryant and first baseman Anthony Rizzo will receive All-Star nods, Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon will send veteran southpaw Jon Lester to the mound to square off against John Lackey and the first-place St. Louis Cardinals later this evening on ESPN.
Lester (4-6, 3.74 ERA) enters tonight’s contest with a 1-1 record against the Redbirds in his first year with the Cubs. These two teams opened up the 2015 campaign at Wrigley Field in a match-up that featured Lester going toe-to-toe with the now injured, Adam Wainwright.
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St. Louis (53-28) tagged him for three earned runs on eight hits and chased him out of the game after just 4 1/3 frames in the shutout victory. It was the same day where the league became aware of Lester’s lack of pick-off attempts with runners on, resulting in team’s stealing on every given opportunity from there on out.
In early May, Jon was the only Cubs (44-36) starter to record a win in their brief visit to Busch Stadium. The 31-year-old prized free agent held the home team to only one earned run on four hits while issuing two walks and striking out six through seven innings of work.
He finished the month of June without recording a victory but started off July with a bang despite picking up the no-decision. Lester worked seven scoreless innings, giving up only five runs to the Mets.
Taking the mound tonight for the Cardinals will be another veteran arm in John Lackey. Lackey (6-5, 3.30 ERA), has worked two quality starts this season against the Cubs, allowing a combined three earned runs on 13 hits with a 15/4 K/BB ratio across 14 2/3 innings.
It’s no surprise that Chicago’s N.L. Central rival has gotten the best of them this season even without key members of their N.L. Championship series roster. The Cardinals swept the Cubs just last week so they need to walk away with at least a series split.
First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. central time and will air live on both WGN, ESPN and WBBM 780.
Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineup’s for both clubs: