Chicago Cubs Lineup: Murphy Leads Off, Javy Cleans Up, Lester Pitching

 

With just four games remaining in the regular season, the Cubs still control their own destiny as it relates to winning the NL Central and avoiding the NL Wild Card game. The Cubs will turn to Jon Lester, in what will be his final start of the 2018 season, to push the Cubs a full game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers, who have Thursday off before playing the Detroit Tigers this weekend.

Lester will face the Pirates for the sixth time in 2018 Thursday night. So far, he’s 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in 29.0 IP against Pittsburgh this season. Overall, Jon looks to finish out a very strong 2018 campaign with his 18th victory.

Opposing the Cubs will be Trevor Williams, who has been lights out for Pittsburgh as of late. While Williams was very generous this season against the Brewers, going 3-0 on the year against them, he’s not likely to continue doing the Cubs any favors this evening. Williams has been one of the best pitchers in baseball in the second half, posting a 1.08 ERA in 66.2 IP over 11 starts. So far this year, the Cubs have seen Williams twice. He’s posted a 1.38 ERA in 13.0 IP, going 1-1 in the process.

Joe Maddon is rolling with a similar lineup to what we saw on Wednesday, but with Willson Contreras back behind the dish in place of Caratini. Kris Bryant continues to sit out as the Cubs try to monitor his shoulder fatigue. The Cubs offense finally woke up a bit on Wednesday, and they’ll need to keep that going in order to overcome a tough matchup against Williams. That said, the Cubs are playing meaningful baseball at the end of September, and that’s always pretty cool. With the Cardinals heading to town tomorrow, the Cubs would be wise to win Thursday night in order to stay in control of the NL Central destiny.

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Evan Altman

Evan Altman is the EIC and co-founder of Cubs Insider and has proclaimed himself Central Indiana's foremost Cubs authority. He is a husband, father, homebrewer, and award-winning blogger with entirely too much pop culture knowledge. Evan's greatest accomplishments include scoring 400 points in Magic Johnson's Fast Break, naming all 10 members of the Wu-Tang Clan in under 3.5 seconds, and winning the Meese Literary Award at Hanover College.
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