Jon Lester (15-4, 2.61 ERA) takes the hill for the Chicago Cubs (89-50) as they square off against Joe Musgrove (2-3, 5.06 ERA) and the Houston Astros (74-66) in the first of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park. Action begins at 8:10 p.m. ET on Friday, Sep. 9 and can be seen on RTSW and WGN.
Musgrove pitched 4.1 innings in his last outing, surrendering five runs, striking out three and walking two in a 12-4 defeat to the Rangers. George Springer (.259, 107 Rs, 26 HRs, 75 RBIs, 9 SBs) had another good game yesterday, going 2 for 4 with two runs. Lester went 9.0 innings, surrendering one run, striking out four and walking two in a 2-1 win over the Giants in his most recent start. Anthony Rizzo (.295, 85 Rs, 29 HRs, 97 RBIs, 3 SBs) has been successful at the plate, going 2 for 4 Wednesday with one run, one home run, and one RBI.
In their last game, the Cubs lost by a margin of one run. The Astros are 24-22 in one-run games. The Cubs have a 21-21 record in close games.
The Astros managed to give up six walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Cubs who are coming in with a 29-7 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
When they are outhit, the Astros are 12-56. The Cubs have an 8-30 record when opponents outhit them.
Both falling in the top half of the league based on total home runs this season, Houston ranks 12th with 177 homers and Chicago is 14th with 171.
Chicago tops the league in walks with 560 this season. Houston ranks in the top five at fourth with 500.
When the Astros hit at least one home run, they are 64-40, well-matched with the Cubs who are 64-26 when hitting one or more homers.