There's more on Jon Lester's pitching (and hitting) below, but I wanted also to take a look at whether Lester has a chance to have the worst-hitting single season ever by a pitcher.
That record is currently held by (who else?) a Cub, Bob Buhl, who went 0-for-70 in 1962 (he was 0-for-1 for the Braves before being traded to the Cubs, for whom he went 0-for-69). Buhl was a horrid hitter. In 857 career at-bats he hit .089/.129/.091 with 389 strikeouts (45.4 percent of his at-bats).
Lester is 0-for-23 this year with 13 strikeouts. He's averaging 2.3 K per start, and should be in line to make 23 or 24 more starts, which would mean 53 to 55 more at-bats, more than enough to break Buhl's mark if he doesn't get a hit.
However! At least two of those starts should be in American League parks where he won't have to bat. If the current rotation holds, Lester should start next Tuesday against the Tigers in Detroit, as well as the first game against the Twins at Target Field on June 19. That would make it very, very close. There's one more interleague series at an A.L. park where he could possibly start, against the White Sox at the Cell in August.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Lake RF, Castro SS, Coghlan LF, Ross C, Lester P, Russell 2B
Gordon 2B, Prado 3B, Stanton RF, Baker 1B, Ozuna CF, Suzuki LF, Realmuto C, Hechavarria SS, Haren P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jon Lester last faced the Marlins in 2009, so that's pretty irrelevant to tonight. He's never pitched in Marlins Park, although one of the Marlins is someone he's faced quite a bit: Ichiro Suzuki (18-for-53, two home runs). Ichiro is starting in left field for the Marlins tonight, so that's something to watch.
More important is the month of May Lester had: six starts, 1.76 ERA in 41 innings, 1.171 WHIP. He did give up six home runs in May, which is a bit concerning considering he has to face Giancarlo Stanton tonight. Still, Lester is going quite well and I'd expect that to continue.
Except for his hitting, of course. Here's a bit more on Lester the batsman: If he fails to get a hit in his first plate appearance tonight, he'll set the all-time record for most PA at the start of a career without a hit. In his last start he set the record for most at-bats at the start of a career without a hit.
For a while, it didn't even look like Dan Haren would pitch for the Marlins this year, as he had stated he would rather retire than move from his southern California home after the trade that sent him and Dee Gordon to Miami.
But he agreed to pitch and has actually been the Marlins' best starter so far this year. The last time he faced the Cubs, August 1, 2014 at Dodger Stadium, they hit him pretty hard. David Ross, who is starting tonight, is 2-for-5 lifetime vs. Haren with a double.
Today's game is on WPWR. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf).
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The 2015 Game Thread procedure has changed a bit. Here's how it will work going forward.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.