Cubs vs. Braves: Lester vs. Teheran (Game 78)

CHC (42-35): LHP Jon Lester (6-5, 4.13 ERA)
ATL (46-32): RHP Julio Teheran (5-5, 3.40 ERA)
First pitch 7:05pmCDT

The Cubs sandwiched their losses between two juicy slices of victory* and topped it all with some Javy special sauce to achieve the split vs. the Mets on Sunday. Jon Lester takes his turn tonight in the opener against the Braves. He'll be trying to further distance himself from a run of drudgery (for fans and himself alike). The team last faced Atlanta during the hell week that opened 2019. Lester faced off against Teheran and got a no-decision, pitching six innings and allowing two earned runs. Swanson and Albies tagged him for solo homeruns in that game. Most recently Lester worked his way to a win against the White Sox, going 5.2 and yielding three earned runs. His strikeouts and walks have been fine lately; it's the longball he'll have to avoid to return to form. Freddie Freeman is 6-22 against Lester with two homeruns and ten strikeouts. Nick Markakis has 92 at bats against him and an OPS of .586.

Julio Teheran takes on the task of suppressing Cubs offense. He's a befuddling pitcher. Remember when he was the rumored return for a 2012 Dempster trade that was not to be? Since then, he's slid back and forth between being a one-win pitcher and a three-win pitcher. This year, he's leaning toward the better side of that scale, due largely to allowing fewer homeruns than in previous seasons. Last time out he allowed six earned runs in four innings to the Mets and took the loss. His splits are fairly even this year, but across his career lefties have hit him much better than righties. Schwarber is 4-9 with zero strikeouts and Descalso is 3-12 with a pair of doubles (and Maddon is clearly trying to build him up); I suspect both will start. As a team,

*Laymen sometimes refer to this as the "turd sandwich," but in the biz they call this the reverse sandwich, wherein one puts the bread in the middle. It is the least enjoyable way to eat what is otherwise an ordinary sandwich.

Comments

schwarber / bryant / rizzo / baez / contreras / heyward(CF) / bote(2nd) / cargo(RF) / lester

Can't wait to never learn what happened between Contreras and Flowers.

while sharing chocolate chip cookie recipies contreras learned that flowers puts walnuts in his recipe and he's just not going to take that crap without speaking up.  he took it a bit too far and said flowers might as well be making oatmeal raisin cookies, so it's all a big mess right now.

also, flowers survived his AB the next inning without incident.

Walnuts suck. Just sayin’

I dub this canon.

I second & nominate Crunch as winner of the internet....

And the one gaping hole in the lineup (insert Descalso or Almora or Russell or Camargo) bites the Cubs in the ass with momentum killing gidp

For my sins, I have to watch the local Braves tv broadcast with Chip Carey and Jeff Francoeur. Not ideal. 

Pro tip to the Cubs: score a ton of runs, then score a ton more. These Braves specialize in pulverizing and bludgeoning teams into oblivion, particularly after the six inning. 

mission accomplished.

also, wow at that 10 mile long leash teheran got to totally suck.

Not the first time Bote has frozen on a catchable ball from Javy at second ... and leads to two unearned runs. Damn. Love Bote, but when you’re playing with Javy, you better expect the unexpected 

if javy has the ball you gotta play like you're on a basketball court.  until the play is dead, no matter what your view is, that ball could be coming at you at any time from any angle.

bote also goofed earlier in the season playing 3rd during a lester start by not knowing how extreme one needs to cover for him.  yeah, technically it should be lester's play, but realistically the 3rd baseman has more range to cover with lester on the mound.

he's not an awesome 2nd, but he's not bad.  i've been a bit surpirsed at how iffy his play at 3rd has been given how nice it was last year.  hopefully he'll adapt to the quirkier stuff.

welcome to the cubs barnette.

6 pitches to his 1st batter, solo HR.

you're gonna fit in just fine.

But for Flowers and the pitchers spot, the Braves lineup is relentless. When McCann plays, the only hole is the pitchers spot. Tough club. 

gonna be in ATL over the 4th and catching the young braves club in person.  i really don't like going to that park (hey, who wants 3-4 hours of the "tommy hawk chawp"?), but i wanna see this collection of kids.

Good deal - much better ballpark experience than at the Ted. Atlanta fans are buying in and showing up. 

Barnette’s 88-91 mph fastball really is, uh, not very special. 

Kyle Ryan playing like a man who wants to keep his big league roster spot - well done!!

It’s a shame that they had to burn Cishek with a five run lead. I guess they could have used Brach or Caratini. Probably not enough time to warm up Caratini. Wouldn’t want to risk blowing the lead with Brach. 

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  • crunch 1 min 48 sec ago (view)

    1h 50min into the game and they're through 4 innings.

    yesterday's game was 3h 45m.

     

  • crunch 1 hour 20 min ago (view)

    lester seems to be leaving off where he was for the last couple months of the season in 2019.

    no one should take anything from a february spring training start...NONETHELESS...this outing looked a lot like the ones he spent in the last couple months of the season with batters sitting around waiting to swing at lester fastballs and laying off everything else.

     

  • crunch 21 hours 54 min ago (view)

    he paced for 20+HR last year and might have done it if he wasn't on unpaid leave for a while.  i'd handicap him as a 15-20HR guy at worst rather than saying 20HR solid.  it's probably a safer range.

    his D isn't up there with the all-time greats of the game, but it's well above average for a young guy (turned 26 last month) who can also provide some pop.  i think more than a few teams could slot him in as a middle IF starter without having much internal competition.

     

  • Rob Richardson 22 hours 25 min ago (view)

    He hit 20+ HR only once and that was four years ago. He has a career OBP of 312, a career SLG of 392, and is his SS defense really that special anymore?

     

  • crunch 23 hours 43 min ago (view)

    kinda crazy a.russell is still a free agent.

    he's not the first and probably not the last domestic abuser to "serve his time" and find contracts to sign.  there's a 20HR guy who plays great D at SS sitting out there while spring training is going down without him.

    i wonder how much he's demanding (if that's an issue at all) vs teams that want no part of him...

     

  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    Don't forget the awesome taste of RizzO's !!!

     

  • crunch 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    ha.  also, this reminds me that Grand Slam cereal existed in the late 90s.  it was basically Kix with the marshmallows from Lucky Charms (in baseball items shape).  it was actually really good.

     

  • Charlie 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    I just love cereal so much

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 23 hours ago (view)

    Yeah, both of those guys have some versatility. Could make a nice platoon if it ever came to that. 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 23 hours ago (view)

    Rooting for General Mills?

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 23 hours ago (view)

    I like that they're trying Robel and Giambrone all over the diamond.

     

  • Charlie 1 day 23 hours ago (view)

    I'll just be here salivating over the possibility of observing a sub-70MPH curve ball. :)

    Rooting for Mills in general. Seems like fun as a 5th starter.

     

  • crunch 2 days 50 min ago (view)

    dusty baker + adam greenberg piece...

    https://www.mlb.com/news/dusty-baker-adam-greenber...

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 55 min ago (view)

    Man this Dodger broadcast is garbage.

     

  • Wrigley Rat 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Love those breakdowns Phil - thank you!

    People tweeted about watching the Cubs game live here yesterday: http://yoursports.stream/mlb?v=MTQ5NzY2MDMw Might work for anyone on here who can't seem to get the game today.

     

  • Sonicwind75 2 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Thanks Phil for these breakdowns. Really helpful.