#Cubs lineup for 2nd game vs Pirates

Jon Lester will start the Cubs’ second game against the Pirates. The lefty also is batting ninth. It’s just the second time this season manager Joe Maddon has inserted the pitcher in the ninth spot, and both times have been in Lester’s starts.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Jackson LF

Bryant RF

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Baez 3B

Russell SS

Ross C

Lester P


Aloha Folks, first kudos to Lester for getting his first complete game of the season, boy was that needed with a hurting bp! I heard that the team had many chances to score more runs, especially in the 5th with bases loaded. I hope the team can get hot again in the scoring department as they need it to finish out strong. I also think they still have a chance at overtaking the Pirates but have to play good ball the rest of the way. Again, Lester great job tonight and the team’s defense! Mahalo!

Hello k.g. Boy, did Lester really came through as the stopper the team needed and showed he can tough out a victory??? He sure did. And Bryant in the outfield? Wow. I also loved the chest bumps between Joe Maddon, Lester & Ross….those three were on the same page for this victory and it paid off. Sort of like parents taking care of the family when the “kids” are not up to the task at hand. Ross may very well have to be retained in 2017 not as Lester’s personal catcher but as his personal coach/adviser/guru/psychiatrist ushering in a new coined term in baseball for any extra coach kept on staff for the sole purpose of getting the best out of just ONE player: “The Lester Coach”. Akin to the surgery performed on Tommy John became commonly known and accepted as “Tommy John Surgery”. Take care.

Aloha fonzie- yes, Ross really stepped up yesterday, his leadership showed. I liked him coming out to the mound late in the game, not only talking with Lester but the whole infield, this was the hardest inning for them with runners on, I think it was the 7th. They needed a double play, sacrifice the run and they got it! I hope the team can capitalize on the opportunities to get more runs (RISP), that is critical. Well, today is another big game! Take care. Mahalo!

Agreed k.g. improving on our RISP opportunities will go very far with helping the starting pitcher last longer, reducing our reliance on what is a shaky BP. But outings like Hammel had in the first game are just not acceptable at the rate he has been having them. A clunker once in a while is tolerable even from the elite pitchers in the game but what Hammel has shown lately even though he is not an elite pitcher is not encouraging.

Yes, k.g. Did not see the second game in real time. Saw the highlights. But have to believe Lester pitched the complete game because our pen can`t be trusted. Lester and the coaching staff learned a valuable lesson with Jon`s last start versus the Redbirds, when he pitched seven stellar innings and turned the contest over to the bullpen, and they `pissed` it away. Regarding tonight`s game, I saw Bryant make at least two impressive catches in right field in the highlights. And Kris looked very comfortable. It`s my opinion that the outfield is where we are going to see Bryant playing in the future, and not third base. Perhaps not this season, but beyond. Remember his college coach at San Diego, Rich Hill, predicted that Bryant could be a `plus` outfielder at the major league level. Our offense needs to `pick it up.` Two runs does not cut it. We were very fortunate to win that second game. Lester was `nails.` But isn`t that what was expected of him? His record is 10-10. Overall he has underperformed. But let`s not dwell on that. All that counts now is how we perform going forward. We have Jake going tomorrow. When Garrett Cole starts, Pirate fans expect to win that game; by the same token, when Arrieta starts, Cubs` fans expect to be victorious.

Aloha jhosk- Yes, I remember you mentioning that Bryant’s coach in San Diego said he could be a plus-outfielder. I am sure in his young mind, he is still thinking he can play the infield and he might be able too. At the same time, it is pretty amazing to see how fast Baez settled in there. Now that maybe temporary for Baez too because depending on what happens with Castro, we could see next season a Rizzo-Baez-Russell-Bryant infield, which would be amazing because of the “age,” of that group. The outfield is still a work on progress too, who knows what we see next year, will Soler be out there and if so can he play RF? The two catches that Bryant did tonight looked very good, Soler has not looked “comfortable” out there and that could be due to his injury. I would love to see Soler back but he has to be able to play his position. We all know LF will be up for grabs as well as CF for next year. Still a lot of what-ifs but we should only look at the here and now. The team is making a serious run even with all the unknowns. I think Maddon understands that his bp is very weak and cannot be trusted to hold a lead, so he blessed that Lester did not have a high pitch count tonight and could go the entire way. Not to put pressure on Arrieta but I know Maddon is hoping for not 7+ but 8+ innings out of him tomorrow because he knows he will have to go to the bullpen early on Thursday. I also wonder with all the bp woes and some starting ones as well, would Maddon put a Richard or Wada in for a start? The next 18 games are all crucial and they end on the road against the Brewers and Reds who I know want to be the spoilers. It is going to be tight with the Pirates the rest of the way and I know Maddon is thinking, we have to overtake them for the W.C., that is how I would look at it, you want that home field advantage. Take care now! Mahalo!

Lester has not underperformed…. That is flat out wrong.

Would you care to elaborate?

Top 10 in MLB in … Starts, fip, innings,and strikeouts… Top 10 … His fip shows he has had some “bad luck” and should have a much lower era. He hasn’t had a lot of help in run production in my opinion and is constantly hindered by having Ross catch him until recently.

Is he overpaid? Probably but honestly we knew that would be the case. But saying he has underperformed is you just looking at wins and era which don’t tell the whole story. If you tried to learn and research you could figure it all out but I doubt you do that.

Jhosk, I absolutely agree with Petrey10 on Lester’s performance. His season in total has been of high quality, nowhere near under performing. In fact I can only remember one of his games being a clunker. Are you sure you are not confusing his performance with your disappointment with his record? Certainly we expected the very good, WS game dominating Jon Lester to have a better record than 10-10, however much more than his performance comes into play regarding his (or any pitcher’s, including Arrietta’s 19-6) record. Many factors may have contributed to the less than expected record of 10-10. His performance on the other hand all season has been that of a quality, top of the rotation pitcher. “Overall he has under performed” is a statement you may want to think about if not retract. Not much elaboration is needed, just review his season. Not living up to your expectations is a far cry from a pitcher under performing…just sayin’. Have a good one.

I absolutely disagree with yourself, fonzie. Perhaps if Lester got a `knock` occasionally, instead of accepting being an automatic out each time he came to bat, or if he actually threw to first base occasionally to hold runners rather than succumb to his mental block, he may have achieved a `win` in one of those contests in which he `lost` or received a `no decision.` Perhaps these are things he can get off his ass and work on over the winter, thus eliminating more embarrassment in these areas in future seasons. Please! I can`t believe you, of all people, are defending Jon Lester.

There was a Carrie Muskat sighting on the MLB Network today. Jon Lester was interviewed on `Quick Pitch` after his impressive complete game victory Tuesday evening. If you see a replay of the broadcast, look for Carrie immediately to Jon`s left as the pitcher is speaking.

I have to run soon. My argument is Lester is a .500 pitcher. I know wins/losses are not of prime importance to you. But I look at the standings. The Cards and Pirates are ahead of us because each has more wins and fewer losses. Cubs` fans are justified in expecting more than 10-10 for $155 mil over six years.

Again…a wins/loss record is not the definitive way to evaluate a pitcher’s PERFORMANCE. Lester has performed very well, during his starts the BP, the offense, the defense, the managerial decisions….may not have performed as well as Lester thus adversely affecting his very good performances. After all, during almost every one of his starts he is not complimented by the best hitting line up available…. Enjoy your run!

Forgot something important…? You mention the Cards/Pirates and the above .500 record of their starting pitchers. Put Lester on either team, with THEIR bullpen, THEIR offense….does Lester have an above .500 record then?

joey, if Lester was on either of those teams without Ross, he may have more loses. LMAO

I’m fine, appreciate the concern. Lets keep it to baseball though, I don’t need anymore e-mails.

You are the one replying to my comments, addressing me as someone else so I respond in kind, playing along in your little game…have grown use to it, enjoy it actually and as Petrey10 suggested to me a while ago I am learning to let you go yet maintaining a dialogue at the same time to your comments. No wrong name this time? Well, it’s a start…. I reply in kind, no wrong name for you either. my responses to you are about baseball… not cats or grandmas. i.e. Lester on the Cardinals having more than 10 losses IS about baseball, laughable at that but about baseball. The manner in which you comment begs for you to reap what you sow, if that means more “emails” for you so be it. Keep it to baseball you say? Time to put your money where your mouth is as I remember your NON BASEBALL comment to benign White about a cat in a box (pretty disgusting) and only from your mind….respecting 90 is a good thing for players and will get them far according to Maddon, respecting names and posters may work wonders for you in preventing further “emails”.

Lol jhosk…. Wins/losses mean jack squat … Please try to learn how to interpret stats in baseball. You will enjoy it I promise

Hello? Is anybody home? Had Jon Lester gone 15-5 or 14-6, rather than the pedestrian 10-10, we`d be right there with the Cardinals and Pirates vying for the division lead today. No reasonable person would think it`s too much to ask a purported staff ace who is commanding more than $25 million/year to win 14 or 15 or 16 games in a given season.

jhosk, I am home and reasonable at the same time. I will throw out the compensation given Lester as it has nothing to do with whether or not we posters think he has under performed or not. Your question was not does one think he is overpaid. Are not most ball players over paid for playing a game that does not spread out over 12 months when comparing to most people that work 12 months of the year, in some cases doing “harder” jobs? But I digress regarding pay. Discounting his salary, Lester has not pitched “lights out” all year but he has performed very well. HE, himself is not what disappoints me, it is the games lost in which he has pitched in as a whole which are disappointing to me as the offense could have been better in some, luck could have been greater in others etc. I think your only valid point is Lester’s inability to control the base running game which may have contributed to some of his losses. That is on him. But do you not think it is more of a mental thing than a lack of skill? That no matter what his ass elevation, he will not get better at that part of his game. Yes, due to his problem holding runners on base he is not a complete, well rounded ace but due to his track record and PITCHING prowess he is an incomplete ace. It would be interesting to look at his career starts wins and losses when throwing to Ross vs. Other. Does Ross’ extremely weak bat hinder Lester more so than Ross’ excellent game handling skills? I understand the signing of Lester was to lay a foundation of a successful and dominate starting staff and he has performed up to that end. The advance of Arrieta catapulted this year’s team to playoff contenders. Do you not think Arrieta over performed? Would Arreita have such a good win/loss record if Ross and his weak bat had 4 plate appearances during his starts? So much to factor in when evaluating Lester’s performance. As I have said before, he no doubt by the fact Ross is on the roster for the sole purpose of making Lester better, is a high maintenance pitcher but a very good one none the less. The real test will be 2017, Lester will be two years older, Ross will not be catching him and he will have FOUR years left on his contract. Nothing a WS trophy can’t cure.

What is the Cubs record for when Lester has started this year?

Fonzie, from what you typed I conclude it`s okay with you that a $25 mil pitcher essentially takes the months of April and June off. Also, what is your opinion of posters who make `adhominem` attacks on other posters? I thought it was a violation of the blog`s `guidelines.` In fact, I know it is.

Well jhosk, I don’t think Lester took the months of April and June off, I think he showed up and gave it his all, there is a difference. (see: Milton Bradley) I understand you think Lester has had a disappointing inaugural Cubs season and his win/loss record of 10-10 may back your opinion to some but in this particular case we just happen to respectfully disagree. I am not the biggest Lester supporter but that stems from his attachment to Ross not his pitching performance. I believe he has pitched very well this season, I hoped he would have pitched better (akin to Arrieta) but I will accept very well. As to your “ad hominem” (I believe a space is needed?) query I completely abhor it and think it serves to undermine the respected banter, debate and discourse such as you and I enjoy. I’m betting we can agree on this however….Lester can very well be expected to start thinking about pitching like an ace WITHOUT Ross catching him as it is inevitable. Lester no doubt has not pitched to the tune of Arrieta’s excellence and certainly has “special needs” that Arrieta does no require so I can see your point but I still do not agree. Maybe next year if Lester remains as needy and hovers with a .500 win/loss record I will be more inclined to agree with you. But hopefully next year we will be conversing about David Prices’ inaugural Cubs season!!! Yes??? And Lesterross will be a much more palatable after thought.

Lester strikes me as a stand-up guy. I`m guessing if the question were posed to him did he believe he performed to expectations thus far in 2015, he would answer in the negative. Carrie obviously has access, as I commented earlier she was standing by his side when interviewed today on MLB`s `Quick Pitch.` I want to hear from you other posters. Do you side with Petrey10, and believe Lester has performed just fine in 2015, or are you of a similar mind as myself, and believe he has underperformed overall? Granted, he pitched `lights out` last night, but you`ll recall several `clunkers` during the course of the long season. It`s my recollection that he was absent in April and again in June, but I`m elderly, and you`ll forgive me if my memory fails. Don`t be shy. I want to hear from y`all.

By the way jhosk, I enjoy your “y’all”. Do you hail from the southern climes?

I spend my winters there, fonzie, but am a Yankee by birth, and am not referencing that baseball team in N.Y.C.

Yes, fonzie. You are right about ad hominem. I appreciate you correcting me. Some folk on here get `all bent out of shape` when something like that is pointed out about something he/she has typed. I`m not one of them; trust me. We are life-long learners, and I guess folks are tired of hearing me state it, but I try to learn something new each day. Thanks to you, I just did.

I’m glad you took that the way I intended. BTW, I too spend a good amount of time down yonder….not quite wintering there…yet…

One more thing, please keep in mind what Petrey10 told us regarding Lester`s impressive `fip,` before you weigh in. Wins and losses do not mean zip, according to that seer, but a pitcher`s `fip` is the ultimate metric.

Fip is a great indicator of a quality pitcher but not the only … I listed numerous stats he was top 10 in baseball also …. You can’t look at one stat…. Look at them all. Like I said run support per 9 is very low for Lester due to having him and Ross most of the year. That’s changing and I think you will see him pick up more wins.

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