The Cubs and Jon Lester got a good look at the White Sox lineup, one that has been extremely impressive against lefties, in Friday’s 10-1 loss at Wrigley Field.
“They’re a strong right-handed lineup,” Lester said. “They have, obviously, some damaging power at the top of their lineup. Well, really not even the top of their lineup, through the whole lineup.”
Entering Friday's game, the White Sox ranked atop the league in OPS, home runs and wRC+ against left-handed pitching. They lived up to that billing, hitting four homers off Lester (and another two against Cubs righties Jason Adam and Colin Rea). Jose Abreu hit two, and Luis Robert, Eloy Jiménez, Danny Mendick and Yasmani Grandal each added one.
The Sox have a nice mix of veterans — Abreu, Edwin Encarnacion, Grandal — and younger players — Tim Anderson, Jiménez and Robert, that, to Lester’s point, make them formidable top to bottom. They're strong against lefties and confident right now, leaving little margin for error.
“And if you’re not executing,” Lester said, “if you’re in there for 100 pitches and you’re not executing 99 of them, they’re gonna make you pay. It’s an impressive lineup."
So how do you beat a team like that, hitting the way it is?
"You just hope that the other guy doesn’t pitch as well as [Dallas Keuchel] did tonight," said Lester of Keuchel's eight innings of one-run ball.
"Hopefully you can out-pitch the other guy and that’s kind of what you’re hoping right now with their lineup."