After manufacturing a win in the first game, the Chicago Cubs will take on the NL leader in ERA in the Cardinals Mike Leake. Jon Lester takes the hill for the Cubs coming off a tough outing against the Dodgers.
The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals have one thing in common. Both starters were roughed up by the Los Angeles Dodgers in their last start. Mike Leake allowed four runs, the first time he hadn’t produced a quality start this season. Jon Lester allowed two three-run home runs–just the second time in his career. But home has been a happy place for Lester so far this year.
The Cubs (26-27) seem happy to be home again as they took the opener. Lester (3-3, 3.86) is an entirely different pitcher at home than on the road. He’s 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA at Wrigley Field. On the road–0-3 with a 7.11 ERA. While he’s been impressive in Chicago, it’ll be the Cubs struggling offense that needs to get things going against the Cardinals (26-26) and the NL ERA leader.
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Leake (5-3, 2.24) has only had one start that he didn’t produce a quality start. That had stretched 61 1/3 innings in which his ERA was 1.91. For the Cubs, one number to pay attention to is that he’s allowed the fewest baserunners per nine innings (8.93) and the lowest opponents’ on-base percentage (.242) in the league. The Cubs have proven both of these are an issue, and Leake could compound that.
Last season, the Cubs survived and won in spite of Jason Heyward. It’s a different story this year. Heyward helped the Cubs win the opener, and has just about matched his numbers from last season. Last season he hit seven home runs and knocked in 49. This year already he has five home runs and 21 RBIs. His production is essential while the team tries to overcome their woes at the plate.
Here are the lineups for today’s matchup:
First pitch is at 1:20 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field. WGN will have the television coverage and 670 The Score will have the radio broadcast. Make sure to check back for more coverage during and after the game here at Cubbies Crib.