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Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox preview, Saturday 9/22, 6:10 CT

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The Cubs look to even up their series with the White Sox.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

With Addison Russell on administrative leave and thus on the restricted list, the Cubs have made an addition to the active roster:

Personally, I'd have given Ryan Court a week in the big leagues. But Mike Freeman gets the call instead.

Saturday notes:

  • The Cubs have a 42-37 road record with two games remaining away from Wrigley Field. Thus the Cubs will finish with a winning road record for the fourth season in a row. This marks the first time in more than 100 years that the Cubs have had a winning record on the road at least four consecutive seasons. The last time: An 11-season run of winning road records from 1902-12.
  • Jon Lester’s start tonight will be the 89th by a Cubs lefthander, tying the franchise record set in 1966. With four lefthanders currently in the rotation, that record should fall Monday after Kyle Hendricks, the lone righthander, starts Sunday. (H/T: Ed Hartig) More on Lester below.
  • Here’s one of the biggest reasons why the Cubs have struggled lately: After leading the National League with a .771 OPS, .345 on-base percentage and 476 runs scored at the All-Star Break, the Cubs offense since the All-Star break has posted a .705 OPS (12th in the N.L). and a .315 on-base percentage (ninth) while scoring 240 runs (10th). The Cubs have a .640 OPS in September, which ranks 13th out of 15 teams in the N.L.
  • And again, if the Cubs win tonight it will be their 90th win of the season, and will mark the fourth straight year they will have won 90 or more games. That will be the longest such run in franchise history since a nine-year streak from 1904-12.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

White Sox lineup:

Jon Lester, LHP vs. Lucas Giolito, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Lester, last six starts: 1.73 ERA, 1.183 WHIP, just one home run allowed in 36⅓ innings. He’s stepped up right when the Cubs have needed him most. He had a minor back tweak a couple of starts back, so the rotation was adjusted to give him some extra rest, now six days of rest since his last start a week ago against the Reds.

Jon started against the White Sox May 12 at Wrigley Field and allowed just four hits and one run in 5⅔ innings. He’s made 10 starts covering 68 innings at the White Sox home park and has a 3.44 ERA and 1.176 WHIP.

It’s times like this when guys like this usually step up. I’d expect Lester, who has tons of experience pitching in pennant races, to do that tonight.

Also, Lester has a better ERA in road games (2.82 in 14 starts) than at Wrigley Field this year (3.96 ERA in 16 starts) and he’s somewhat better in night games (3.09 ERA in 15 starts) than in day games (3.78 ERA in 15 starts), so those splits would seem to favor him tonight.

Lucas Giolito came into the game against the Cubs May 13 at Wrigley Field with a 7.25 ERA and 25 walks in 36 innings and at the time that was only seven fewer walks than Tyler Chatwood had. (Incidentally, unless Giolito is extremely wild in his last two 2018 starts, Chatwood is going to lead MLB in walks this year even if he doesn’t throw another pitch. Chatwood has 95 walks this year; Giolito is second with 83. No one else currently has more than 79.)

Giolito threw a pretty good game against the Cubs, just two hits and three runs in 5⅔ innings. He did walk seven that afternoon, so perhaps if the Cubs can wait him out, he can do another Chatwood.

He managed to throw decently for a couple of months, but in September he’s been getting pounded again: three starts, 6.91 ERA and 1.674 WHIP. The May start is his only career game against the Cubs. These Giolito splits work against him tonight: He has a much higher ERA at home (7.91 in 14 starts) than on the road (4.35 ERA in 16 starts) and a higher ERA in night games (6.18 in 19 starts) than in day games (5.12 ERA in 11 starts).

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago with Len & JD. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago market), and the White Sox broadcast is on WGN.

NOTE: MLB Network usually picks up the home team broadcast.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation White Sox site South Side Sox. If you do go there to interact with White Sox fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. Here’s how it works.

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.