SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Jon Lester is starting tonight’s game. And one of the things that makes it look like Lester will rebound to his 2016 performance is his level of comfort with Willson Contreras:
Willson Contreras, who took the Lester reins when [David] Ross retired after the 2016 World Series, might provide even more cover for Lester than Ross if his first year with Lester was any indication.
“This spring training is much easier,” Lester said earlier in camp. “I would imagine especially for Willy as well. Nobody’s making a big deal about who he’s catching, that David Ross isn’t here, yada, yada, all that other stuff.
“As far as working with him and the way he goes about it, I love everything he does back there.”
Contereras made the transition from Ross work from the start by heeding Ross’ advice, working with first baseman Anthony Rizzo on pickoff signs and quickly learning Lester’s tendencies.
The article also notes that steal attempts off Lester were down from 55 in 2015 and 41 in 2016 to 31 last year, and you certainly remember this:
Here are today’s particulars.
Happ CF, Schwarber LF, Contreras C, Russell SS, Almora RF, Caratini 1B, Freeman 2B, Court 3B, Lester P
Ervin CF, Gosselin 3B, Votto 1B, Mesoraco C, Gennett DH, Peraza SS, Winker RF, Herrera LF, Pennington 2B
As noted above, Jon Lester will start for the Cubs. Cubs relievers tonight: Kyle Ryan, Anthony Bass, Justin Hancock and David Garner.
Robert Stephenson gets the call for the Reds.
Today’s game is on cubs.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. No TV tonight.
Please note that during spring training, Gameday doesn't usually go pitch-by-pitch as it does during the regular season -- usually, it will update after each at-bat.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
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For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at five minutes to game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For tonight, that will be 8 p.m. CT and 9:30 p.m. CT.
These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page. There will also be a StoryStream on the front page with all the game thread links, as well as the recap after the game is over. The pitcher boxes and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.
Discuss amongst yourselves.