John Lackey (7-2, 2.63) vs. Gio Gonzalez (3-5, 3.93) – 7:05 p.m ET, MASN/MLB Network
Right now, at 37 years old, John Lackey is one of the best pitchers in the National League. Against the Phillies back on June 8, Lackey gave up three hits over seven innings and struck out eight to pick up his seventh win of the year.
Lackey is 3-0 in his last five starts and his last loss was a 1-0 defeat against the San Diego Padres on May 11. During the month of May, he was 2-1 with a 2.09 ERA in four starts with opposing hitters hitting .170. He is in the top ten in ERA and strikeouts in the National League, second in WHIP, and he hasn’t allowed a run in two starts.
Back on May 11, Lackey went seven innings, gave up two runs on six hits, struck out a season-high 11, and walked one in a win over the Nats. He is 2-0 with a 3.58 ERA in five career starts vs. Washington. Jayson Werth is 7-for-17 (.421) with four doubles, a home run, and three RBI’s against Lackey.
Despite having a much better outing in his last start, Gonzalez has now lost four straight starts. Against the White Sox on June 9, he went seven innings, gave up three runs (all in the first inning) on five hits, struck out ten (season-high) and walked two in the loss.
Over this four game losing streak, Gonzalez has given up 21 earned runs over 22.2 innings. The problem for Gonzalez in that start against Chicago was not being able to get out of trouble early. Out of the 31 runs he’s given up this year, 20 of them have come in the first three innings.
On May 7 against the Cubs, Gonzalez went 5.2 innings, gave up five runs on seven hits, struck out two, and walked one in a no-decision. He is 3-2 with a 3.10 ERA in eight career outings vs. Chicago. Dexter Fowler is 8-for-17 (.471) with a double, a triple, a home run, and three RBI’s against him.
Prediction: With Lackey doing a good job keeping the opposition off the scoreboard as of late, I would expect him to put together another quality outing. The key will be whether or not Gonzalez can avoid the early inning woes against a strong lineup. However, it’s tough to trust Gonzalez going into this start, so I have the Cubs winning game two.