It may be a bit unusual for a high-priced pitcher like Jon Lester to not start on Opening Day, but this isn’t a normal Chicago Cubs team. Lester comes into the 2016 season as the Cubs’ number two starter behind Jake Arrieta, and with how the reigning Cy Young Award winner pitched last night in Anaheim (7 IP, 2 hits, 1 BB, 6 SO, 0 runs), Lester likely just wants to keep pace. The two-time World Series champion finished the 2015 season with an 11-12 record and a 3.34 ERA and certainly has the veteran advantage tonight as he faces off against the Angels young left-hander, 24-year-old Andrew Heaney.
The advantage that Heaney may have is that not one single member of the Chicago Cubs roster has ever seen him before. Sometimes that works out for a young pitcher, but given how the Cubs’ offense was firing on all cylinders last night, it might just take one time through the lineup to figure him out. However, outside of Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs’ roster had quite a few issues with lefties a season ago, finishing 12th in the National League against left-handed pitching with a collective .238 average. They’ll look to buck that trend tonight and keep rolling after a 9-0 victory in the season opener. Heaney has a career 6-7 record over two seasons, one in Miami and last year with the Angels.
As for Lester, he’s faced ten members of this Angels roster throughout his career, who collectively have a .248 average against him. The man that’s had the most success is Albert Pujols, who’s gone 5-12 against Lester in his career with two doubles and three runs batted in. Pujols also has 56 career home runs against the Cubs, his most against any opponent. Pujols was 0-3 last night against Arrieta and Lester will look to keep him at bay this evening.
Here’s everything else you need to know about tonight’s matchup at Angel Stadium.
Chicago Cubs (1-0) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (0-1)
Time: 9:05 PM CT
Location: Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Radio: 670 The Score
Starting Pitchers: Jon Lester (0-0) vs Andrew Heaney (0-0)