Cubs Belt 5 HRs; Lester Struggles as the Cubs Drop Their 3rd in a Row

Houston, TX-(ENEWSPF)- On a night where the both the Cubs and Astros combined for seven home runs – five for the Cubs – the Cubs’ pitching staff continued to struggle against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Since May 14, Cubs’ starters have an ERA of 5.98 while the bullpen has a combined ERA of 4.41 for a collective ERA of 5.37 as a unit.

Jon Lester’s woes on the mound continued and dropped his third consecutive start going 5 ⅓ innings giving up 7 runs on 8 hits, striking out 3 and walking 3.

Despite the Cubs’ home run assault that started with Jason Heyward and Addison Russell going back-to-back, along with the first of two David Bote home runs in the 2nd, and a Kyle Schwarber game-tying homer in the 6th, wasn’t enough as Alex Bregman had two of his own for the Astros – one off of Lester – and Houston’s offense was too much for the Cubs and won 9-6 and handing the Northsiders their third loss in a row.

After starting the year with a 3-1 record and a 1.16 ERA, the loss drops Lester’s record to 3-4 and raised his ERA to 3.58 on the season.

With the Milwaukee Brewers losing last night, the Cubs still maintain a ½ game lead for 1st in the NL Central.

Lester, feeling frustrated after the game said, “It’s a hard start to walk away with positives. It’s a results-driven industry. I can’t sit here and lie to you guys that I feel good about that. Seven runs is seven runs. Just didn’t get the results.”

The Cubs will try to avoid the sweep tonight with Kyle Hendricks(4-4 3.34) vs. Wade Miley(5-2 3.32). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

GAME NOTES:

  • The Cubs were 0-9 with RISP last night and left 9 runners on base. In the last 15 games, the Cubs’ offense in batting .213(22-103) with RISP and have stranded a whopping 112 LOB in that span.
  • The seven runs given up by Lester was the most he had given up in a loss since August 11 of last year when he surrendered 8 runs in 3 ⅓ vs. the Nationals at Wrigley Field.
  • Cubs’ starters have failed to get past the 4th inning three times in the last seven games.

IN OTHER CUBS NEWS:

Kris Bryant, who has missed the last two games since an outfield collision with Jason Heyward in Sunday’s game, may return to the lineup as early as tonight, pending medical clearance. Manager Joe Maddon said, “I’m going one step at a time with this whole thing. Go do your thing now. Once he does that, he’s got to settle down and report to the doctors. Once he’s ready to go, he’ll be out there.”

“We want our team at full strength. Missing guys in the lineup is never fun, especially our everyday guys. It’s part of the season, part of the ebb and flow to the season. Guys are going to miss time with certain knickknacks. It’s better to miss a couple days than a couple weeks,” said Anthony Rizzo.