Lester Helps Cubs Avoid Yankee Brooms In Sunday Night's Series Finale

Cubs pitcher Jon Lester

Willie Bee

Sunday, May 7, 2017 4:12 PM GMT

Sunday, May. 7, 2017 4:12 PM GMT

With the odds pointing in Chicago's direction, the Cubs look to avoid a sweep Sunday night when Jon Lester takes the mound at Wrigley against the New York Yankees.

Anyone who has known me for longer than five minutes knows I have very little, if any, love for the Chicago Cubs. The same is true for the New York Yankees, though I have to admit to enjoying seeing them beat up on the Cubs so far this weekend at Wrigley Field.

Whether or not the Yankees can pull off the sweep remains to be seen tonight (8:05 PM ET) when the two close out their series in front of a prime-time ESPN audience. Youth vs. veteran is the initial mound matchup as Luis Severino faces off against Jon Lester. Chicago is priced -129 on 5Dimes' morning nickel line with the total lagging off the board as usual for a North Side contest in the Windy City.

New York opened the series with a 3-2 decision thanks to a 2-out, 3-run homer by Brett Gardner in the ninth. The Yankees followed that up by breezing to an 11-6 victory that was all but decided in the top of the first when they plated five runs. The Cubs were favored on the MLB odds in each game and have now dropped 3.7 units their last 10 games going 4-6 to fall into a tie for first in the NL Central with Cincinnati.

 

Lester Faces Yanks For 1st Time Since Boston Days

New York has climbed into a half-game lead over Baltimore in the AL East with the triumphs, and qualify as the hottest team in the majors with an 8-2 record since the final week of April. One of those defeats occurred Monday in Severino's last start, a 7-1 setback vs. Toronto in which the young Dominican was responsible for five runs in five innings. Tonight marks the first time Severino takes on the Cubs, and his first assignment against an NL club since August 2015.

Lester, of course, has plenty of experience against the Yankees dating back to his Boston days. A few of the encounters were rather ugly, but the southpaw did pretty well overall with a 13-6 record and 3.77 ERA over 29 starts (174 IP). Jacoby Ellsbury, a former Red Sox teammate, has troubled Lester over the years with five hits in 10 at bats.

 

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Crew chief Joe West is up next for plate duty in the umpire rotation, and comes in 4-3 O/U in seven assignments so far this season. Among his 172 ejections over the course of 34+ seasons, Joe Maddon's name appears twice, most recently last September when he got aggravated by the Cubs manager's stalling tactics in a game against the Cardinals.

Clear and cool is the forecast for Wrigleyville this evening, temps in the low-to-mid 40s for the series finale with very light ENE breeze (in from left). Totals closed 6½ and 7½ for the first two games, but I suspect tonight will be in higher at 8½-9. New York is hot, but Chicago should break out this evening and produce a winning free baseball pick.

Free MLB Pick: Cubs -129Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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