Chicago Cubs: Jon Lester is back as Cubs go for sixth straight

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 17: Jon Lester
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 17: Jon Lester /

Entering Saturday, the Chicago Cubs are 3 1/2 games up in the NL Central and look to move a season-best 15 games over .500, as they face the Atlanta Braves.

When Jon Lester (8-7, 4.37 ERA) made his last start a few weeks ago, some wondered if it might have been the lefty’s last of the season for the Chicago Cubs.

Fear not.

The return

Saturday marks his return off the DL, which he went on following a disastrous outing against the Reds. In that outing, he didn’t make it through two innings and gave up nine runs, seven earned. He left the outing due to left shoulder soreness and left lat tightness.

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While it’s unlikely he will go very deep in his first start since Aug. 17, Lester does have success against Saturday’s opponent, the Atlanta Braves.

In eight career starts he is 5-2. He won his only other outing against Atlanta on July 17, 4-3. It was a particularly memorable outing for the Atlanta resident, as he doubled and stole his first base.

Coincidently, Lester follows up two of the shortest outings of his career against the Braves. He went two-thirds of an inning against the Pirates July 9.

For the Braves it will be the rookie Lucas Sims (2-4, 4.41 ERA). In what will be his seventh-career outing, Sims is coming off his longest one, 6 1/3 against the Phillies, a 6-1 loss. He struck out seven, a season-high.


Since the All-Star Break, Braves slugger Freddie Freeman is slashing .167/.281/.333 versus lefties. Rene Rivera is back behind the plate for Chicago. In six games he is hitting .333 with five hits.

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What’s next

Sunday features the season finale for the clubs. Mike Montgomery (5-6, 3.29 ERA) makes the start for Chicago against another Braves rookie, Max Fried (0-0, 5.40) who has made four appearances, and Sunday will be his first start.

First pitch is 1:20 pm C.T. from Wrigley Field.