Coming off their first home loss in three weeks, the Chicago Cubs hope to salvage a split of their two-game interleague series with the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. The Tigers outlasted the Cubs for a 10-8 victory in the rain-delayed opener, snapping Chicago’s eight-game home winning streak.
The Cubs’ lead for the National League’s second wild card is down to three games over San Francisco, but Chicago still has six more home games before beginning a six-game road trip with three against the Giants. The Tigers smacked around Cubs left-hander Jon Lester on June 9 in Detroit, tagging the ace for five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. Miguel Cabrera (14-for-25, HR) and Victor Martinez (8-for-19, HR) have enjoyed particular success against Lester. Detroit, which ranks fifth in the American League with 68 stolen bases, might try to get the running game going against Lester, who has given up a major league-high 35 thefts.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Detroit, WPWR (Chicago)
LINE HISTORY: The Cubs opened at -190 but that has moved to -206. The total is presently off the board.
INJURY REPORT: Cubs – RP Rafael Soriano (15-day DL, shoulder)
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-70s with wind blowing out to centerfield at around 17 mph.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The last time the Tigers finished in last place in their division was 2003 (with one of the worst records in history) but they’re threatening to do it again as they are currently just two games out of the cellar. On the plus side, 1B Miguel Cabrera came back over the weekend in Houston. The Cubs have shuffled their lineup yet again with Starlin Castro moving to the bench (and seeing time at 2B when he plays) and Kyle Schwarber slotting into a regular OF/C role. All the shuffling seems to be paying off as the Cubs have gone 8-2 in their last 10 and are closing in on the Pirates.” Covers Expert Big Al McMordie.
JD Martinez’s girlfriend Ariana Aubert and Addison Russell’s girlfriend Melissa Reidy
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers LH Daniel Norris (2-2, 4.24 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jon Lester (8-8, 3.21)
Norris is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts since being acquired from Toronto in the David Price deal. The 22-year-old was excellent in his Tigers debut at Baltimore but has surrendered nine runs (eight earned) in 9 2/3 innings over his last two outings. Norris is making his Wrigley Field debut, but he pitched a scoreless inning in relief against the Cubs last season.
Lester has posted five straight quality starts, going 4-0 with a 2.04 ERA over that span. The 31-year-old has hit double-digits in strikeouts twice during that stretch, including 10 in a six-inning stint against Milwaukee his last time out. Lester is 2-5 with a 5.25 ERA in 10 career starts against the Tigers and has been on the losing end of each of the last three meetings.
* Tigers are 11-2 in the last 13 meetings.
* Tigers are 3-13 in their last 16 games following a win.
* Cubs are 8-1 in their last nine home games.
* Over is 4-0 in Cubs last four games as a favorite.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-five percent of Covers users are backing the Cubs.