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NLDS GameThread: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals - Game 1

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The Chicago Cubs survived their Wild Card matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates, now they take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. Game Time: 6:30 PM EDT; TV: TBS; RADIO: ESPN Radio. Jon Lester vs John Lackey.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card game earlier this week and earned the right to take on the St. Louis Cardinals in a five-game NLDS matchup which starts tonight at 6:30 PM EDT in Busch Stadium with right-hander John Lackey on the mound for the Cards vs Cubbies' lefty Jon Lester.

Lester, 31, finished his first season in Chicago (11-12) with a 3.34 ERA, a 2.92 FIP, 47 walks (2.06 BB/9) and 207 Ks (9.09 K/9) in 32 starts and 205 innings pitched, over which he held opposing hitters to a .236/.288/.373 line.

After Lester went (1-3) with a 2.59 ERA and a .216/.276/.353 line against in four starts and 31 ⅓ IP against St. Louis this season, Cubs' skipper Joe Maddon told reporters he knew the southpaw would be ready for the series opener with the Cards.

"I know he's going to be ready," Maddon said. "He loves this kind of stuff. He's not going to be taken by a large crowd or whatever. I think he's been throwing the ball really well. His last start was very good.

"(1-3) could be confusing also based on the number of runs that we've scored," Maddon said, referring to Lester's win/loss record vs the Cubs.

"I think he's pitched really well against this group, but he's pitched well against them in the past.

"So I have all the confidence in the world in Jon going into that game tomorrow and if we need him at the end, we have him at the end, also."

Lackey, 36, was (13-10) in 33 regular season starts with a 2.77 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 53 walks (2.19 BB/9), 175 Ks (7.22 K/9) and a .252/.303/.376 line against in 218 IP.

The veteran righty was (2-0) with a 1.25 ERA and a .244/.294/.295 line against in 21 ⅔ IP against the Cubs this season. He told reporters in his own pregame press conference that he was not taking his opponent lightly.

"Going to be a challenge," he said. "Great team. Really good lineup. Obviously pretty familiar with each other, you know, being in the same division. So yeah, it's going to be a tough one."

Today's Lineups:

CHICAGO CUBS ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Dexter Fowler - CF Matt Carpenter - 3B
Kyle Schwarber - RF Stephen Piscotty - 1B
Kris Bryant - 3B Matt Holliday - LF
Anthony Rizzo - 1B Jason Heyward - CF
Starlin Castro - 2B Jhonny Peralta - SS
Chris Coghlan - LF Randal Grichuk - RF
Addison Russell - SS Yadier Molina - C
David Ross - C Kolten Wong - 2B
Jon Lester - LHP John Lackey - RHP

Lackey vs the Cubs:

Cubs PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP missG
Chris Coghlan 18 17 8 1 2 1 2 .471 .500 .529 1.029
Austin Jackson 17 16 5 2 1 5 .313 .353 .438 .790
Miguel Montero 16 15 4 2 2 1 2 .267 .313 .400 .713
Anthony Rizzo 15 12 1 1 2 .083 .267 .083 .350 2
Starlin Castro 13 12 3 1 2 .250 .308 .250 .558 1 1
Kris Bryant 11 9 2 1 1 5 .222 .273 .222 .495 1
Jorge Soler 9 8 4 3 1 .500 .556 .875 1.431
Javier Baez 8 8 4 .000 .000 .000 .000 1
Dexter Fowler 8 7 2 1 1 2 .286 .375 .429 .804
Addison Russell 8 7 2 1 2 .286 .375 .286 .661 1
Jake Arrieta 7 6 2 1 2 2 .333 .333 .667 1.000 1
Chris Denorfia 4 3 1 1 .000 .250 .000 .250
Tommy La Stella 3 3 2 .667 .667 .667 1.333
David Ross 3 3 1 .333 .333 .333 .667
Jon Lester 2 2 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000
Travis Wood 2 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 1
Justin Grimm 1 1 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 145 130 37 9 1 8 9 30 .285 .343 .369 .712 2 1 3 3

Lester vs the Cardinals:

Cardinals PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP missG
Jhonny Peralta 53 48 14 3 3 8 5 13 .292 .358 .542 .900 2
Mark Reynolds 43 36 8 3 1 4 5 8 .222 .349 .389 .738 2 1
Jason Heyward 24 24 10 4 1 2 4 .417 .417 .708 1.125
Matt Carpenter 23 21 5 1 1 1 2 6 .238 .304 .381 .685
Yadier Molina 22 19 4 1 3 2 3 .211 .273 .263 .536 1
Matt Holliday 19 18 7 1 1 4 1 4 .389 .421 .611 1.032
Peter Bourjos 10 10 3 1 3 .300 .300 .400 .700
Pete Kozma 9 8 1 1 .125 .125 .125 .250 1
Brandon Moss 9 9 2 2 .222 .222 .222 .444
Kolten Wong 8 7 1 1 1 1 .143 .250 .143 .393
Tommy Pham 7 6 1 1 1 1 2 .167 .286 .667 .952
Matt Adams 6 6 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Randal Grichuk 6 6 5 .000 .000 .000 .000
Stephen Piscotty 6 4 1 1 2 2 1 .250 .500 1.000 1.500
Jon Jay 4 3 1 1 1 .333 .500 .333 .833
Adam Wainwright 4 4 3 .000 .000 .000 .000
John Lackey 2 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Lance Lynn 2 2 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 257 233 58 14 1 8 27 20 59 .249 .313 .421 .733 1 1 2 3