Major League Baseball
Preview
Seattle at Chi. Cubs
When: 2:20 PM ET, Friday, July 29, 2016
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

Despite a tumultuous July, the Chicago Cubs still own the best record in the major leagues, and they’ll look to improve upon that mark when they host the Seattle Mariners for a three-game series that begins Friday. The Cubs are a National League-best 32-16 at home after taking two straight from the visiting Chicago White Sox, while the Mariners are 10-4 in interleague play.



The Mariners had a day off on Thursday after splitting a two-game set in Pittsburgh to move to 3-2 on their eight-game road trip. Seattle’s offense has been feast-or-famine on the trek, scoring 21 runs in two games while totaling three in the other three contests. Jon Lester hopes for more of the latter as he looks to continue his strong performance at home, where he is 5-2 with a 2.18 ERA in nine starts this season. Lester will have to contend with a power-packed Mariners lineup that boasts eight players with double digits in home runs, including three with at least 20.

TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, ROOT MLB Network, Northwest (Seattle), CSN Chicago



PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6, 3.96 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jon Lester (10-4, 3.09)

Iwakuma has won five straight outings, posting quality starts in four of them and compiling a 2.51 ERA over that span. The 35-year-old won at Toronto last time out, allowing two runs and four hits over six frames for his third straight quality start. Iwakuma faced the Cubs once in 2013, allowing four runs over eight innings in a no-decision.

Lester had a rough outing Sunday at Milwaukee, allowing four runs in four-plus innings, but a late rally got him off the hook. The 32-year-old has issued 11 walks over his last three starts and has walked three or more in five of his last seven outings. Lester is 5-4 with a 3.52 ERA in 12 career starts against the Mariners, but he hasn’t faced them since 2014.



WALK-OFFS

1. Seattle OF/DH Nelson Cruz sat out Wednesday’s series finale at Pittsburgh after fouling a ball off his left leg a day earlier but is expected to return to the lineup at Wrigley Field, and he is 11-for-28 with three homers versus Lester.

2. The Cubs are 56-1 when leading entering the ninth inning after newly acquired LHP Aroldis Chapman nailed down his first save for the club on Thursday.

3. Mariners 2B Robinson Cano needs three extra-base hits to join Carlos Lee, Albert Pujols and Eddie Mathews as the only players in MLB history with at least 50 in each of his first 12 seasons.



PREDICTION: Cubs 4, Mariners 3


Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Seattle 51-49 L1 25-23 26-26 15-7 10-14 16-24 10-4
Chi. Cubs 60-40 W1 31-16 29-24 16-14 28-14 11-9 5-3
Last Meeting
Seattle Chi. Cubs
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
6/30/13 CHC 7 SEA 6 .270 3 .947 .243 0 .705
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Seattle N/A
Chi. Cubs N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Seattle N. Aoki 0 0 0
Chi. Cubs J. Arrieta 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Seattle 0.00 .000 0
Chi. Cubs 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Seattle R. Cano .301 122 .888
Chi. Cubs A. Rizzo .287 102 .974
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Seattle N. Cruz 25 58 66
Chi. Cubs K. Bryant 26 81 66
Pitching ERA Avg K
Seattle 4.02 .260 835
Chi. Cubs 3.26 .254 886