Chicago Cubs send Jon Lester to the mound with win streak on the line
After dropping last Sunday’s game to the Atlanta Braves, the Chicago Cubs opened their week on the road with three games in Pittsburgh. They swept the Bucs only to take all four from the Washington Nationals, giving them a perfect week. Now, their winning streak sits at seven games.
Tonight, they’ll clash with the National League West for the third time this year when the San Diego Padres (13-19) make a quick stop at Wrigley Field for a three-game set. San Diego had some trouble scoring runs to open up the new season, failing to do so during their home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
They were outscored 25-0 while the Chicago Cubs (24-6) were pouring it on the Los Angeles Angels. Last year, both the Cubs and Padres emerged as threats in their division. San Diego went out and picked up a handful of players including former Tampa Bay Rays ace, James Shields and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.
In fact, Kris Bryant made his big league debut against Shields and the Padres when they met up for the first time last April. Since then, the Cubs were on the rise while the Padres fell apart, missing out on the postseason.
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With the new year beginning to open its eyes, Jon Lester and the Cubs hold the best record in baseball. Lester (3-1, 1.58 ERA) is off to a great start, holding opposing teams to seven earned runs on 33 hits, four home runs, and a 38/9 K/ BB ratio in 40 innings of work.
In his previous outing against the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates, Lester worked through 5 2/3 frames of scoreless ball but was tagged for eight hits and escaped a no-outs, bases-loaded jam by recording two strikeouts and a routine fly-out to right field.
Second baseman, Ben Zobrist backed him up with a three-run homer in the contest as well. Zobrist had himself a great to the month of May, hammering four home runs and driving in 15 runs while slashing .321/.432/.786 in 28 at-bats. He played a huge role in the sweep of the Nationals by recording eight RBI with three home runs.
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Taking the mound opposite Lester will be 24-year-old right-hander, Cesar Vargas. Vargas (0-1, 1.10 ERA) has been lights out for the Padres, holding the Cardinals, Dodgers, and the Rockies to a combined two earned runs on 13 hits with a K/BB ratio of 12/9 in 16 1/3 innings to begin his big league career.
He’ll have his hands full with a Cubs team who leads the entire league with 184 runs tallied. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. central time and will air live on CSN, 670 The Score. Don’t be surprised if the umps call for the tarps as rain is expected to hit Chicago during the game.