This time, the stakes are higher in the heat of a pennant race. The Cubs enter with a two-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central, and just 2 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers.
“I like that it’s difficult now and we should learn something about ourselves moving forward,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s not about anybody else; it’s about us playing well. If we take care of business, we’ll be fine. I’m focused on that and I want our players to be focused on that.”
Willson Contreras, who was Lester’s personal catcher before missing a month with a strained right hamstring, is expected to catch the left-hander for the first time since returning from the DL last weekend. But Contreras is unlikely to play the full game as the Cubs ease him back into duty.