Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs send Jon Lester to the mound in momentum swinging game

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Oct 7, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34) reacts after the final out of the fourth inning against the San Francisco Giants during game one of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 7, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34) reacts after the final out of the fourth inning against the San Francisco Giants during game one of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /
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It took an all-around effort to even the series at two games apiece after a 10-2 victory in Game 4. Now, the Chicago Cubs look to ride this newfound offensive momentum in Game 5 and head back home in command of the series.

Standing in the way of the Chicago Cubs is Kenta Maeda (0-1) of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who has been pushed up to give Clayton Kershaw more rest for Games 6 and 7. Kershaw pitched in Game 2 of the series despite starting Game 4 and recording the save in Game 4 during the NLDS against Washington.

A Game 1 rematch

This will be the second time all year that the Cubs will face Maeda.

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The Cubs faced Maeda in Game 1. He threw just four innings, giving up four hits, three runs, and issued three walks.

Maeda lost his only other playoff start against the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, serving up four runs on five hits in three innings—his second-shortest start of the year.

The 28-year-old rookie from Japan hasn’t performed well this postseason, leaving some in the media to speculate that Kershaw should get the nod in a pivotal Game 5.

Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts played Game 5 against the Nationals in a similar way, making Kershaw unavailable to pitch. However, Kershaw found his way to the mound after Kenley Jensen pitched 2 1/3 innings and threw a career-high 51 pitches.

“It’s not an elimination game,” Roberts said. “And I think the accumulation of (Kershaw’s) usage over the last 10 days plays a factor in our decision.”

So far this postseason, Kershaw has thrown 19 1/3 innings, second most behind Toronto’s Marco Estrada (22 1/3).

This is what veterans are for

Jon Lester (1-0, 0.64 ERA) gets the start for Chicago in Game 5 on standard rest. In Game 1 against the Dodgers, he threw six innings, gave up one run, and struck out three. Cubs skipper Joe Maddon lifted him after throwing just 77 pitches.

Next: Cubs' offense comes alive in Game 4 win

In five career starts against the Dodgers, they’re slashing .196/.264/.540 against Lester in 32.1 innings. At Dodger Stadium, Lester is 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA in 19 1/3 innings. This year, Lester has yet to give up an earned run in Los Angeles.

In his last start at Dodger Stadium, Lester threw six scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory against the Dodgers.

The lineups for tonight’s game are as follows:

First pitch of Game 5 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT tonight at Dodger Stadium. FS1 will have the television coverage. 670 The Score will as always have the radio broadcast. We’ll be keeping up with the in-game thread here, as well as live tweeting at @CubbiesCrib on Twitter. Be sure to check back to be part of the action with us!

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