#Cubs NLDS lineup: Lester vs Cards in Game 1

Jon Lester takes the mound Friday for the Cubs in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Cardinals. First pitch was scheduled for 5:45 p.m. CT from Busch Stadium. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Schwarber RF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Coghlan LF

Russell SS

Ross C

Lester P

Lester is 6-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 12 career postseason starts. That includes a 1.63 ERA in four career starts in the League Division Series.

The Cubs lost four of Lester’s five starts against St. Louis this season despite the lefty posting a 2.59 ERA. That includes a hard-luck loss to Lackey on July 6. Lackey went seven scoreless in that game. However, Lester did collect his first ML hit off his former Red Sox teammate in the outing.

Chris Coghlan gets the start for good reason. He’s 8-for-17 (.471) with a double lifetime against Lackey.

The Cubs are 7-11 in their previous 18 first games of post-season series, including Wednesday’s Wild Card win. The Cubs are 1-3 all-time in the first game of the NLDS, with the only win coming in the 2003 series at Turner Field against the Braves.

Here’s the Cardinals lineup:

Carpenter 3B

Piscotty 1B

Holliday LF

Heyward CF

Peralta SS

Grichuk RF

Molina C

Wong 2B

Lackey P

21 Comments

Part of the Cubs` game plan should be `to force Matt Holliday to play defense.` Hit the ball in the direction of left field early and often, because this guy is vulnerable.

Aloha jhosk, that is true. I am glad to see Coghlan in for this game, as I shared with jasper from stats from this year’s team against Lackey, he has good success against him. Now the other thing that needs to happen is for this team to be patient again at the plate and run up Lackey’s pitch count, play good defense and help Lester out if a runner gets on base. Go Cubbies! Mahalo!

Aloha White, yes we all hope the best for Scully. Mahalo!

Aloha jhosk- just some thoughts, I think Lester pitched very good through 7innings. The hitters tonight were not as patient as they needed to be and did not run up the pitch count like they should have as they did against Cole. So, unfortunately, Lester gives up a hr to Pham in the 8th and the team unravels. We also see Strop implode. I was saying to the wife one advantage to being the team in first place is that you do not spare your “Ace” earlier in the wild card game as the Cubs had to against the Pirates. I think it was the right move to have Arrieta pitch that game. I know what they say about Lester in the past but I had to look at this season because it would be a big change to from from one league to another and the fact that this league likes to run on pitchers as well. Again, he pitched very good through 7innings. I thought Maddon would have lifted him in the 8th but because he probably does not want to go to his bp to soon, that put more pressure on Jon. I also heard that the ump behind the plate was not consistent with his calling, especially against Cub hitters, did you see that? The other subject that I wanted to bring up and I have been a big supporter of having more catchers on the roster is in regard to Ross. You know when you have Lackey going up against Arrieta or Lester (this season he has been pretty good against the Cardinals) it will be a low run scoring game, so as much as I like Ross, I wonder if he was a “weak-link” as well because Montero provides much more offense than does Ross. Again, these are playoff games, this is no longer the regular season. At some point does Maddon say to Lester, look buddy we need offense and Montero (though he did not do great against Lackey during the regular season, the odds are he does better) provides that. Hard to say. The score does not tell the whole story if it ends 4-0, Cardinals. I do not blame Maddon for not taking Lester out after the 7th. Who would he have put in at the start of the 8th..Strop? Hard to say, the bp has not been consistent so it does put a lot of pressure on the starting pitching and for that matter Maddon and his coaches. I am still loving this season because the young guys get a taste of the post season now. My mother brought up a good point today, in that unlike 2008 where it seemed like the team limped into the playoffs, had a different outlook. Under Maddon this young team knows it will make mistakes, is learning but they believe they can do well. So, I look forward to tomorrow’s game and hope Hendricks can be focused and calm and that the hitters will be more patient against Garcia. Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. I`ll start with your comment about the home plate umpire. He did have a generous strike zone when Lackey was throwing, but not so much for Lester. Dennis Eckersley in the booth commented on several pitches to Cubs` batters which were clearly out of the zone, and yet were called strikes by the plate umpire. He`s Phil Cuzzi. He has a reputation for being inconsistent with his ball and strike calls and has a checkered past. He`s been known to throw temper tantrums when he`s critiqued. I urge you and other Cubs` fans to Google him and you`ll see. That said, we scored zero runs and even had Arrieta pitched this game, it`s dicey as to if we`d win. We generated almost no offense. We got Addison to third at one point and Dexter drove a ball to the right field wall which even Molina and Lackey feared had a chance to leave the yard, but that was it. Neither Bryant nor Rizzo has had a hit in the past two games. You know how I`ve felt about Strop for a long while. Ever since Bob Costas described one of his appearances as `atrocious` back in July, I have not been impressed. He may have good stuff, but he does not pitch smart. {This is an issue with Rondon, also.} That dinger Strop surrendered was a hanging breaking ball, which major league batters are supposed to hit out, as Eckersley commented. The Cardinals `outpitched,` and `outplayed` the Cubs tonight, and it`s time to move on. Our objective should have been to win one of these two games in St. Louis before Monday`s third game at Wrigley. Means we had better win tomorrow. Every game in these short series is important. Our offense had better come to life Saturday, as it`s reasonable to expect Hendricks to surrender some runs, and yet keep us in the game. We need him to throw the way he has recently. And yes, your point about Ross and Lester being `automatic` outs in the lineup is well taken, and is troubling. It has to be addressed before next season, if not sooner. It`s another reason why fonzie smartly attributed the designation `high maintenance` to Jon Lester.

To be objective, the rookies on the Cardinals` roster and the managerial moves Mike Matheny made tonight deserve praise. Let`s hope our rookies and manager shine Saturday.

Aloha jhosk, will definitely look up Cuzzi. Good points about tonight, even if Arrieta had pitched. I hope Bryant and Rizzo can get their bats going, offense is much appreciated! Mahalo!

I always pay close attention to who is the home plate umpire in any given game involving the Cubs. He can make the difference between winning and losing. I recall Wednesday`s WC game in Pittsburgh. Early on I was skeptical of the home plate umpire, as he appeared to miss some ball/strike calls. But soon after that I became comfortable with him as he got most pitches right involving both Cole and Arrieta, and said as much to my friends who were observing with me. Btw, that umpire`s name is Jeff Nelson.

I play Scrabble with people all over the world – Germany, England, Ireland, etc. So many of these folks always want to know how the Cubs are doing. Let’s hope the news will be good today! Lester’s record against the Cardinals does not bode well. Another nail biting afternoon ahead. 😡

Scrabble, sounds like a very nice hobby. To bad you cant play with people from more Countries.

I saw that, too. Specifically when pitching to Addison Russell in I believe the third inning. He did it on at least the final two pitches of the at bat. I even rewound the DVR to make sure. The camera did close ups on him before each pitch. That was the last time I saw close ups of him when he got a new ball. I think the Cubs should go to the league regarding that ridiculous strike zone for Lackey and for allowing Lackey to apply foreign substances.

Whoops, that was supposed to be a reply to Nancy J.

Why is Lackey allowed to spit on his hand, rub on ball, then fingers to brim on hat and then pitch? Is he throwing spitters or tar baseballs?

Cubs had no problems with anything Lackey did except his propensity to throw strikes. The one time the ump did check the ball was because Rizzo had fouled it off, and it wasn’t replace. After looking at the ball Rizzo fouled, it was replaced

It is illegal to lick your fingers and rub the ball, though, isn’t it?

spit, no, but did you see the white stuff on Lackey’s left forearm? He would wipe it like it was sweat rub it into the ball. check it out before the 2-2 pitch to Bryant in the 6th or 7th if you have it on tape.

Best wishes to Vin Scully – Have a speedy comfortable recovery! He is the best!

Good performance by Lester through 7 innings. Once again he doesn’t get the run support. Hopefully the Cubs win tomorrow. It is time that the Cubs knock the Cards off their pedestal. Need for Bryant and Rizzo to start hitting.

Ken Rosenthal dug a little deeper on the Cubs’ issues with home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi on Friday night. And what Rosenthal reported is rather interesting. Phil Cuzzi has been the home plate umpire in a Cubs game four times this season. Cuzzi was behind the plate when Trevor Bauer and Yordano Ventura faced the Cubs, plus the day Cole Hamels broke The Streak. According to Rosenthal, “the Cubs scored a total of one run, managed just 11 hits and struck out 42 times, a 33.1 percent strikeout rate compared to their 24.5 percent rate overall.” The Cubs strikeout rate with Cuzzi calling balls and strikes is “the worst by any team with any plate umpire this season.”

Aloha Jasper- that is really interesting. The Cubs might have a reason to “protest,” Cuzzi behind the plate with the numbers you gave above because those are big differences. It is also another reason the team should be motivated for Monday and Tuesday! Maybe Carrie can chime in here but I am curious with the Division Series, will there be a different group of umpires? One has to wonder if Cuzzi has it out for the Cubs? Mahalo!

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