Chicago Cubs: Jon Lester on mound as Cubs try for split

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 02: Rene Rivera /

In Thursday’s season finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jon Lester makes the start for the Chicago Cubs as they look for the series split.

Jon Lester (9-7, 4.46 ERA) makes the start for the Chicago Cubs Thursday against Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.50 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday evening from PNC Park.

Lester getting better

In his first start off the DL Sep. 2 against the Braves, Lester showed some rust but earned the win. All total he gutted out five innings, allowing four runs, three home runs, and striking out four.

Said Lester according to, “we found out everything’s fine. I felt like the ball was coming out pretty well. Maybe a couple of pitch selections [I’d like] to have back, but we won the game. We’re all good. Moving in the right direction.”

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Lester was strong in his first start against Pittsburgh April 16, only giving up three hits. The Cubs lost that game 6-1. His last start against the Pirates, July 9, was among the worst outings of his career as he could not make it out of the first inning, serving up 10 runs, four earned.

Taillon no stranger to Cubs

For the Pirates, Taillon got a no-decision against the Reds his last time out but pitched well enough to win, giving up just three hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out four.

On the season Taillon is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA against the Cubs. Against Joe Maddon’s bunch April 16 at Wrigley, he allowed one unearned in seven innings, a 6-1 Pirates win, and June 18 at Pittsburgh, allowed four runs in five innings, a 7-1 Cubs win.

In 11 starts prior to the All-Star Break, Taillon was 5-2 with a 2.73 ERA. In the 11 outings since, he is 2-3 with a 6.75 ERA.


While one run was enough Wednesday night, the Cubs will hope to break out of a bit of a slump offensively, as the club has totaled just four runs over their last four games. Kris Bryant bats second tonight, and is hitting .397 against the Bucs on the season.

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What’s next

Friday is the anticipated start of a 3-game series between the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers. John Lackey (11-10, 4.74 ERA) opposes Jimmy Nelson (11-6, 3.59 ERA).

First pitch at Wrigley Field is scheduled for a special start time of 7:05 pm C.T.