The Brewers were crushed by the Nationals 15-2 (!) Thursday afternoon. Nats hitters tied a franchise record by hitting eight home runs, and they accomplished that in the first four innings of the game.
The first thing that accomplishes is giving the Cubs another half game on their division lead, so they enter tonight’s game with a one-game edge on Milwaukee — and also lead them by three games in the loss column, 47 to 50.
The second thing is, the Brewers pitching staff just finished giving up 23 runs in their last two games. This weekend should be a good time for Cubs hitters, I’d think.
Meanwhile, there is still one more game to play vs. the White Sox, and a Cubs win would take the series. In addition, a win tonight would give the Cubs a winning mark in interleague play so far this year. They’re 7-7 going into tonight’s game. Last year the Cubs went 15-5 vs. the American League.
Here are today’s particulars.
Zobrist 2B, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Schwarber DH, Heyward RF, Jay LF, Russell SS, Almora CF
White Sox lineup:
Anderson SS, Cabrera LF, Abreu 1B, Davidson 3B, Saladino DH, Moncada 2B, W. Garcia RF, Smith C, Engel CF
Jon Lester vs. Mike Pelfrey
Jon Lester has made two really good starts (15 innings, 1.80 ERA, 0.467 WHIP, 16 strikeouts) since his stinker against the Pirates July 9. That is, I believe, a really good sign.
His only start vs. the White Sox as a Cub was July 11, 2015, and as was the case with Jake Arrieta, most of the Sox hitters in that lineup aren’t with the team anymore.
I’m looking for Lester to have an excellent second half.
Mike Pelfrey, a former No. 1 pick of the Mets (ninth overall in 2005), was once a top pitching prospect, but his career has been decidedly mediocre.
So has his 2017 season. In fact, recently he’s been pretty bad (last six appearances: 6.65 ERA, 1.913 WHIP, six home runs in 23 innings).
Pelfrey has not faced the Cubs since 2011. The only current Cub who has a significant number of at-bats against him is Jason Heyward (6-for-18, two doubles, a home run), and even that’s kind of irrelevant, as only four of those at-bats have happened since 2011.
The Cubs ought to be able to hit Pelfrey hard.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago. It’s also on WGN (with Sox announcers).
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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.
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Discuss amongst yourselves.