#Cubs Lester opens series vs Pirates
Jon Lester takes the mound Monday night when the Cubs open a three-game series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. The good news is Kris Bryant is in the lineup after having to leave Sunday’s game because he felt dizzy following a collision at second base. Here’s the lineup:
* Bryant said he will avoid head first slides from now on.
* The Cubs are a season-high 10-games above .500 for the first time since ending the 2008 season with a 97-64 record.
* Pitcher Clayton Richard was designated for assignment and outfielder Matt Szczur called up from Triple-A Iowa.
* The Cubs are batting .248 against left-handed pitchers this season (.235 vs RHP), eighth best in NL. … Cubs pitchers have given up 10 runs over the last five games. … Lester posted a 1.66 ERA (8 ER, 43.1 IP) in six July starts.
* The Cubs and PIrates are squaring off for the first time since May 17. At that time, the Pirates were two games under .500 (18-20). Since then, the Pirates have gone 43-22, the best record in the Majors in that span. Pittsburgh also has won 20 of its last 26 games at PNC Park.
* Anthony Rizzo is 8-for-19 AB (.421) with four homers, 10 RBI in his last five games.
* In case you missed it, here are the pitching probables for this series:
Monday: LHP Jon Lester (6-8, 3.26) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (7-6, 2.92)
Tuesday: RHP Jake Arrieta (11-6, 2.62) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (0-0, 0.00)
Wednesday: RHP Dan Haren (7-7, 3.42) vs. LHP Jeff Locke (6-6, 4.21)