Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs: John Lackey needs strong start for team to earn a split against Rays

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 07: John Lackey #41 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning on June 7, 2017 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 07: John Lackey #41 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning on June 7, 2017 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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After a ninth-inning rally fell short Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs need a strong start from John Lackey in Wednesday’s matinée matchup against Tampa Bay.

After getting only five frames from Jon Lester on the Fourth of July, the Chicago Cubs are counting on veteran John Lackey in the series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Chicago (41-42) is once again looking to get back to the .500 mark after suffering a tough 6-5 loss Tuesday. For that to happen, though, Lackey needs to bounce back from a recent stretch of disappointing starts. The right-hander owns a 5.24 ERA – including an eye-popping 5.13 mark at the Friendly Confines.

Last season, his first with the Cubs, he owned a 2.62 earned run average in home starts. His last time out, a road start against the Nationals, Lackey surrendered eight earned runs over 5+ innings. Location issues continue to plague him – as he’s catching too much of the plate seemingly every time out.

Tampa Bay (44-41) isn’t exactly trotting out a world-beater in Blake Snell. His last time out, a six-earned run loss to the Phillies on June 28, fits well into his overall campaign. The left-hander owns a disappointing 5.36 ERA this year and is yet to win his first game of 2017.

Keep an eye on Ian Happ and Willson Contreras in the days to come. Both have two home runs and are batting over .300 in their last seven. As a whole, the offense seems to be trending up, outside of lacking clutch hits. In Tuesday’s loss, Chicago went just 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

How they line up

What’s Next

Chicago welcomes Milwaukee to Wrigley Field Thursday for a make-up game from earlier this season. Mike Montgomery (1-5, 2.80) starts for the Cubs and Zach Davies (9-4, 5.03) takes the ball for the Brewers.

First pitch is at 1:20 p.m. CT.

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