Cubs Grab 1–0 NLDS Lead
Game Two Preview: Jon Lester(13–8, 4.33) vs. Gio Gonzalez(15–9, 2.96)
The 2017 postseason kicked off last night with a 3–0 Chicago Cubs win. Kyle “The Professor”Hendricks held a masters class in pitching and out-dueled Stephen Strasburg. The defending champions stole home field advantage and put themselves in the driver’s seat in the best of 5 series.
Game 2 will feature a pitching match up between Jon Lester and Gio Gonzalez as the Cubs looks to grab a 2–0 lead in the 2017 NLDS.
Jon Lester is a seasoned postseason pitcher with a big time pedigree when the lights are shining the brightest. But he has had his fair share of struggles this year. His ERA is up. He’s started to show his age and just has not performed like the Cub’s ace. But he was brought to Chicago for games like tonight. He has thrown 133.2 innings in the playoffs. His ERA is 2.63 in those appearances.
“I have so much confidence in Jon Lester pitching in the postseason, period,” manager Joe Maddon said.
But Jon Lester is hard on himself and he is as competitive a pitcher as I’ve seen. He will show up tonight looking to build upon his playoff resume.
Limiting base runners tonight will be perhaps the most important aspect of his performance. Keeping speedsters Michael Taylor and Trea Turner off of the base paths will go a long ways to helping him accomplish his mission.
Gio Gonzalez is the game 2 starter for Dusty Baker. Gonzalez sports a gaudy 2.96 ERA but has struggled with walks at times, issuing 79 this year. The Cubs were 2nd in walks in the National League with 622. Patience will be key tonight as Gonzalez likes to nibble and will throw pitches out of the zone looking for batters to fish. If the Cubs offense can show plate discipline, take their walks, and put stress on Gonzalez it will be a definite advantage.
The first inning has been a nemesis in Gonzalez’s season. Posting a 5.62 ERA in the opening frame. Jumping on him early and giving Lester a lead to work with could well be the difference.
The Cubs as a team have hit just .204 against Gio. Taking walks and moving runners over is imperative if the Cubs hope to win this afternoon and head to Wrigley with a 2–0 lead.
First pitch for game 2 is scheduled for 4:38 CST. TV coverage is on TBS.
Doug Preszler is the type of person who can be a Cubs fan and an Iowa fan while living in South Dakota. He is a man who cares not for regional loyalty. He can be found on Twitter here, telling tales of the Dakotan Cubs fan’s existence.