Jon Lester’s winning stretch might be over but he’s still throwing the ball well for the Chicago Cubs.
Miami’s Dan Haren has been at his best at Marlins Park.
Both veterans look to continue their respective success during Wednesday night’s series finale.
After going 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in four April starts, Lester (4-3, 3.30 ERA) went 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA over six last month. He suffered that defeat after yielding an earned run and striking out 10 over seven innings while being outpitched by Max Scherzer during a 3-0 loss to Washington last Wednesday.
"He can absolutely deal," Scherzer told MLB’s official website about Lester. "You know how good he is, and you just know that you have to match him."
After Lester yielded one homer through his first five outings, half of the 12 runs he’s allowed in his last five have come on solo home runs. He’s served up two of those long balls to All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper.
”The thing that makes really good hitters is when you make mistakes, they don’t miss them,” the left-hander said.
He’ll get his first look at Giancarlo Stanton, who hit his 16th home run to help Miami (21-32) even the set with Tuesday’s 5-2 victory. Stanton’s hit half of the Marlins’ 14 homers at home.
Lester hasn’t faced the Marlins since 2009, but Ichiro Suzuki has homered twice while batting .340 (18 for 53) against him. Teammate Martin Prado has not gone deep versus Lester, but is 5 for 7 with three doubles.
Haren (5-2, 3.03) allowed a pair of solo homers and two other hits over seven innings of a 4-3 road win over the New York Mets on Friday.
"He doesn’t throw real hard, but he locates well and he mixes well," New York’s Lucas Duda said.
The right-hander, who turns 35 in September, has done quite well while going 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in five home starts. He gave up two runs over 20 innings there in three May outings.
However, while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, Haren was tagged for seven runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-2 loss to the Cubs on Aug. 1.
Dexter Fowler is 1 for 10 versus Haren, but 3 for 8 with three runs scored in the series.
Fowler and Junior Lake each had two hits Tuesday for the Cubs (27-23), who are 6-8 since winning a season-high six in a row. Chicago committed its 44th error in the field and a mental one on the bases when rookie Addison Russell was caught taking a big turn off second with one out and the bases potentially loaded in the ninth.
”We did not deserve to win," manager Joe Maddon said.
Lake could see more time in place of right fielder Jorge Soler, who is day to day with a sore ankle. Soler leads all rookies with 50 hits.
"It could be day to day or it could be longer than that, I’m not sure," Maddon said. "If it’s going to be relatively short, I don’t think it’s wise to DL him. A guy like him, one or two days at the most might be plenty."