WE NEED YU: Cubs record in games started by Yu Darvish: 7-1. Cubs record in games started by all other pitchers: 16-16.JON AND THE CARDS: This is Jon Lester’s 20th start against the Cardinals since joining the Cubs. Overall he’s 8-6 with a 3.32.
ERA (42 earned runs in 114 innings) in his 19 outings against St. Louis with the Cubs, walking 37, striking out 116 and holding the Cardinals to a .233 average (97-for-417). More on Lester below.HAPP-ENINGS: Entering Sunday’s action,Ian Happ leads the majors with a 1.093
OPS, ahead of Mike Trout (1.071) and Nelson Cruz (1.059). Saturday, Happ recorded his seventh-career multi-homer game and second this season (also August 30 in Cincinnati) while adding his major-league leading fourth leadoff home run.
HOW ABOUT SOME OF THIS AT HOME: The Cubs are hitting 41 points higher on the road (.252) than at home (.211), the third-largest difference between any club with a higher road average than home average, topped only by the Nationals (.294 on the road, .237 at home) and the Rays
appearances with the bases loaded. They have hit just .191 (9-for-47) with 26 RBI and two walks in that situation, which is 59 points lower than the club’s overall .250 mark (139-for-555) with runners on base. That means the team is hitting .256 (130-for-508) with runners on base in non-bases-loaded situations.
Much as he would probably hate to admit it, at this stage of his career Jon Lester is probably no more than a five-inning pitcher. He’s maxed out at 93 pitches this year and in his last start September 1 against the Pirates, he threw five pretty good innings and then blew up in the sixth.
So if the Cubs could actually plan for Jon to just go five innings and stay under 90 pitches, maybe this could be a successful outing. Of course, that would also mean having effective relievers.
Jon has not faced the Cardinals this year, and last year in two starts against them he posted a 7.36 ERA and 1.455 WHIP.
He’s going to have to be better tonight.
Dakota Hudson has made five starts this year, and like all the Cardinals pitchers he had to ramp up from a long layoff. He’s thrown more than five innings in only two of those starts, but he should be able to go more than that tonight.