Chicago Cubs: Jackson returns to Wrigley Field for first start since 2014

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 04: Javier Baez
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 04: Javier Baez /

The Chicago Cubs will face a familiar face on Saturday. The Washington Nationals will send Edwin Jackson to the mound for his first start at Wrigley Field since 2014.

They say that things will eventually come full circle, but that’s not hard when you’ve pitched for half of the league. The Chicago Cubs will send a rejuvenated John Lackey to the mound to face the former Cubs’ starter, Edwin Jackson. Jackson spent three years with the Cubs, most of it as a starter–and none of it as a good one.

The Cubs (57-51) will try to pull themselves out of this mini three-game slide they’re in with the help of Lackey (8-9, 4.87). This is frightening to say, but Lackey might be their best chance as he’s been fantastic, going 3-0 in the month of July with a 3.27 ERA. Outside of a poor start–against the Nationals–on June 28, Lackey has tossed six out seven with a quality start. For the Cubs, though, the starting pitching hasn’t been the problem.

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The normally solid bullpen for the Cubs has had its issues as of late. Carl Edwards, Wade Davis and new Cub Justin Wilson haven’t impressed. But the bullpen has still pitched well, second in the NL behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers. At this point, we treat the Dodgers like the Cubs last year. They’re good. We all know they’re good. But they aren’t our problem unless we see them in the postseason.

E-Jax returns to Wrigley

For the Nats (64-43), they’ll turn to the 15-year veteran in Jackson (2-1, 3.75) to grab the series win. Jackson has been impressive in two of his three starts (7 IP, 2 ER and 7 IP, 1 ER) but struggled in the middle game in an 8-0 loss against Milwaukee. Now he’s out for revenge–although it should be the Cubs after all the money he “stole” from them with that four-year, $52 million contract.

The Cubs will be without Addison Russell, so Joe Maddon will need to be crafty while he’s out. Willson Contreras will get the start in left field to get a rest from behind the plate as Alex Avila will catch for Lackey. Javier Baez will get the start in Russell’s spot. Since July 15, Baez is batting .333 with five home runs and 12 RBI. You have to understand who Baez is, and what you may get on a daily basis from him.

Here are the starting lineups for today’s game:

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The Cubs are set for first pitch at 1:20 p.m. CT from Wrigley Field. The game will be televised on MLBN (Out-of-market only) and on ABC 7. The radio broadcast will be on 670 The Score. Be sure to check back for more Cubs news, as well as our post game coverage following the final out.