But just when Reds appeared on the verge of winning their sixth straight game against the reigning National League Central champions Dwayne Haskins Jersey , the Cubs turned to a familiar ally.
The Cubs twice rallied from five runs down on Saturday to pull out an 8-7 victory. They will head into Sunday’s matinee at Wrigley Field with a chance to capture the series. Having staff ace Jon Lester on the mound certainly won’t hurt.
Lester will take his 11-2 record and 2.25 ERA into the start a day after the Cubs produced four eighth-inning runs for their dramatic win.The Cubs’ last eight wins all have come after they fell behind early.
“I love the fight,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters after the team’s 50th win of the season. “Both sides wanted to win (and) we got it in the end.
“We’ve been in this situation all week.”
Added Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, who homered in the seventh inning before the Cubs mounted their latest comeback: “We never quit.”
The rally stunned the Reds, who appeared in line for their sixth win in their last seven games and their 15th in the past 19. Instead, Lester will take the mound in search of his eighth straight victory.
Lester was named NL Pitcher of the Month in June and is tied for the league lead in victories. Lester, who has won seven straight starts dating to May 23, will look to keep rolling against the Reds, against whom he is 6-1 in 14 starts.
In Lester’s last start — an 11-10 victory over the Minnesota Twins — he added an extra bonus — a solo home run. But Lester, who has struggled traditionally from the plate David Long Jersey , won’t get too wrapped up in the excitement.
“If I get hits, I get hits,” Lester told reporters after his last outing on July 1. “The home run is awesome, it’s cool, especially at home. But at the end of the day, I know I’m a pitcher and I’m not a hitter.”
The Cubs, who are playing without third baseman Kris Bryant — whom Maddon said will begin a minor league assignment soon — may be without right fielder Jason Heyward. He left Saturday’s loss in the third inning after fouling a ball off his groin.
The Reds enter Sunday’s series finale looking for their sixth straight series. But after Cincinnati touched up Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood for seven runs only to see Jared Hughes surrender a three-run lead, the Reds will attempt to regain their winning ways after Saturday’s shocker.
Cincinnati’s bullpen had, until Saturday http://www.losangelesramsteamonline.com/bobby-evans-jersey , been able to protect late leads, which made Saturday’s loss so unfathomable. It marked only the third time this season the Reds lost after leading heading into the eighth inning.
“We’ve come back on a few clubs like that,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman told reporters, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Today, (the Cubs) did it to us.”
Luis Castillo (5-8, 5.53) will start Sunday for the Reds and will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing June. He finished the month 1-3 and allowed at least three earned runs in each of his five outings. Castillo is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs.
SAN DIEGO — You could call it a homestand. But for the Padres, it’s a chance to get a fresh set of clothes before hitting the road again.
The Padres return from a 10-game road trip Tuesday to host the Oakland A’s for two games at Petco Park before hitting the road again for seven more road games until they come back home on June 29.
“We’ll learn a lot about ourselves in June,” Padres manager Andy Green said before departing San Diego for the first 10 games, which the Padres split.
The Padres are expected to send rookie left-hander Eric Lauer (3-4 Greg Gaines Jersey , 6.20 ERA) Tuesday night to face Oakland right-hander Paul Blackburn (1-1, 11.05) in a match of former first-round draft picks.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Blackburn, 24, was the 56th overall pick of the Chicago Cubs as a supplemental pick in the 2012 draft. The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Lauer, 22, was the 25th overall pick of the Padres in the 2016 draft.
Lauer and Blackburn will be facing the other team for the first time in their brief major league careers.
Lauer will be making his 11th start, with all coming this season Christian Wilkins Jersey , and tis will be Blackburn’s 13th start. He was 3-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 10 starts last year and is 4-2 overall with a 4.09 ERA.
Blackburn was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on June 7 after being out since spring training with a right forearm strain. He was 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in six games, including three starts, this spring before being placed on the 10-day disabled list March 28. He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on April 5. He was activated after one rehab start.
Blackburn was the losing pitcher in his last start, a 13-5 A’s loss to Houston in Oakland. He gave up eight runs, eight hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings.
Lauer has lowered his ERA in four of his last five starts. During that span, he has allowed 12 runs, 32 hits and 11 walks with 22 strikeouts in 24 innings for a 4.50 ERA. Before that, Lauer had an 8.14 ERA after his first five starts.
He has blown hot-and-cold in his last five starts. On May 28, he allowed five runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. Two starts ago http://www.miamidolphinsteamonline.com/michael-deiter-jersey , he issued seven walks in five innings. He didn’t walk a hitter in his most recent start.
“Lauer has to trust his fastball,” Green said recently. “It’s had better carry, better life in his past two starts than it had earlier in the year. He’s attacking better with it. Those are positives. The fastball is his main weapon. But he’s dropped in some off-speed pitches that have kept people off balance.
“His velocity has been up a little bit. He’s done a nice job preparing himself for those starts. Those are probably the biggest things I’ve seen. He’s still searching for that secondary pitch he can rely on consistently. I think when he finds that, he’s going to turn the corner and move really quickly.”