Chicago Cubs look to bounce back from late loss to Braves in opener


Cubs look to shake off late loss as Lester takes the mound

It’s easy to get frustrated with a reliever when the Chicago Cubs lose a game late, but the fact is the bullpen has been one of the strengths in getting them to six games over .500. Pedro Strop has taken some heat with two losses late in games recently, but the offense continues to struggle scoring just two runs last night against the Braves.

The up and down Jon Lester(4-8, 3.59) takes the mound for the Cubs–winless in his last 10 starts. But that doesn’t fall completely on Lester as he’s gotten just three runs of support in his last six starts. The Cubs (47-41) got an immediate offensive jolt from Kyle Schwarber who had three hits last night, but he was a little off behind the plate with a throwing error and a catcher’s interference.

He’ll be a work in progress, but clearly his bat is as good as advertised as he hasn’t missed a beat since his six-game debut prior. But he was the only bright spot in an otherwise anemic offensive display. Jorge Soler knocked in two runs with a single, but his bad baserunning decision ended the inning as he was out at second by ten feet.

The Braves (43-47) revamped their roster prior to yesterday’s game with seven roster moves. They may make another, or just shift some guys around after Manny Banuelos (1-0, 0.75) makes his start today. Banuelos, their 11th ranked prospect according to is coming off Tommy John and is on an innings limit. He could shift to the bullpen, but this will likely be his final start of the year.

Banuelos will likely avoid Schwarber, as David Ross will get his normal start along with Lester, as well as avoiding putting Schwarber in more difficult situations than necessary with Lester’s inadequacies against the running game.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT at Turner Field.

Here are the lineups for tonight’s action: