#Cubs and Lester face Reds

Jon Lester gets the start Tuesday night for the Cubs as they play the second game of their three-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field. Lester is 8-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last 11 starts, holding opposing hitters to a .185 average. He has pitched six plus innings and given up one run or less in six consecutive starts. First pitch from Wrigley Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant LF

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Russell SS

Heyward RF

Baez 3B

Ross C

Lester P

Anthony Rizzo is batting .304 with a .400 OBP and five home runs during his 15-game on-base streak. Meanwhile, the Reds’ Joey Votto is red hot. He’s reached base safely in eight of his last nine plate appearances, is now slashing .416/.502/.650 in 60 games since the All-Star break.


Let’s see if the hitters are concentrating. I am tired of hearing, the best way to keep the Cubs from scoring is load the bases with no outs, and the Cubs will fail to get a run.

The Cubs have scored the third most runs in all of baseball this year, so with all due respect, what the heck are you talking about?

Does anyone have a breakdown of how the Cubs rank in the NL in driving in runners in scoring position? This (plus middle relief) is what worries me about the playoffs, especially that opening best-of five divisional series. Thank you.

Aloha Bruce and folks, here is what we can say about our Cubbies: yes they maybe #3 in Runs but that does not tell you the whole story. When it comes to overall hits as a team they are very down in the list at #19 (out of 30 teams) with 1299 hits (#1 is Boston with 1509). TB or total bases. Boston is #1 with 2477 and our Cubbies are #12 with 2183. So, with more patience at the plate, we should see hits go up, which should translate into more runs and total bases. Now as team rankings go with RISP left on base, the Cubs are at the bottom with only the Pirates and Giants below them. When it comes to Left On Base and Team Left On Base, the Cubs are dead-last at #30. Hits per game the Cubs are #18, Boston #1. So that gives you and idea of where this team is. And by the way, it is not like they do not have opportunities because as some of these stats show, they are leaving the most men on base. Just think how awesome it would be if they could turn this around?! Today Lester pitched big game and brought in the first run. Big win! Mahalo!

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Bingo! I agree completely, Bruce. I`ve had trouble accessing those RISP stats in particular. Someone commented recently that Kris Bryant`s batting average with RISP is .256. Don`t know if it`s true, but if it is, he needs to improve in that department. I`d like to see a compilation of all the Cubs` batting averages in that RISP category. I`ve heard Rizzo`s b.a. in that RISP category is well over .300, but am not certain if that`s fact or fiction. Let`s have a list for all the Cubs` position players. {I also concur that middle relief is a concern.}

I`d like to add something about that middle relief subject. If it is a weakness, there is a way to hide that weakness, or overcome it, or nullify it. The way to do so in the postseason is to have our starters pitch deep into their games, meaning past the seventh inning of their starts. That is not too much to ask, I suggest, as that is what Lester, Arrieta, Lackey, Hendricks, and Hammel have been preparing for this entire very successful 2016 season. Each should be able to turn over games to Rondon and Chapman, and we should not to have to rely on the likes of Cahill, Wood, Montgomery, Pena, or whatever other middle relievers will be part of the postseason rosters.{ It pains me to include Montgomery in that group, because I really like him.} Not that I do not like the others. Would just not want to call on them, unless absolutely necessary. (smiling)

I forgot about Pedro Strop. Will he have recovered from the injury which placed him on the DL in order to qualify for the postseason? Don`t know. What we do know is that it`s impossible to know how Pedro will perform in the postseason, given he is 100% healthy. At times he comes into games and pitches “lights out,” and is dominating. At other times, he does not have his stuff and is shelled. I choose to place Pedro in that category of middle relievers who are ideally bypassed, if at all possible.

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