Chicago Cubs’ Jon Lester’s back-and-forth continues


Chicago Cubs left-hander Jon Lester has been really good – and really bad – this season. So what should the team expect heading down the home stretch?

Fans had dreams of hoisting a pennant in October when the Cubs announced the signing of the former Boston Red Sox ace Lester, and two-thirds through August, it’s a dream that’s still alive and well.

But whether or not it comes to fruition may come down to how the veteran lefty performs in the final six weeks of the season.

Suffice to say, Lester has been inconsistent for Chicago in his first season on the North Side, bouncing back-and-forth between an earned run average near the 2.00 mark to somewhere near 6.00, depending on the month.

So far, August has been one of those forgettable months, especially after the southpaw was shelled at Wrigley Field on Wednesday by the Detroit Tigers in a 15-8 loss.

Lester lasted just 2 2/3 innings, surrendering a season-high seven runs in the process. Wednesday’s outing marked the third time this year he has allowed more than a half-dozen runs in a start and raised his ERA in the month of August to a staggering 6.32 – his worst of any month this year.

So what can we expect from the supposed Cubs ace moving forward?

In short, a mix of both good and bad.

I know, that’s not exactly taking a hardline approach to the question I just posed, but it’s the simple truth. Lester has been exceptionally good and exceptionally poor at times this season, and there’s no reason to think that he’ll stumble upon to consistency with a month-plus to play.

That being said, when the stage is biggest, Jon Lester is always ready to compete.

Chicago enters play Thursday against Atlanta with a three-game lead over the San Francisco Giants for the second wild card spot. After the Pittsburgh Pirates ran off a pair of wins this week, they’ve expanded their edge over the Cubs for the top spot to four games – still within striking distance.

This week, the Cubs’ pitching, as a whole, has been horrendous.

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In the two games against the Tigers, the Chicago offense totaled 15 runs – more than enough to win a game on any given night.

However, that wasn’t the case this week at the Confines, as the Cubs dropped both games to run their losing streak to three games, which has fans in full-blown panic mode after the team ran off a nine-game winning streak earlier this month.

But these struggles, including Lester’s terrible start Wednesday, are why we signed him in the first place.

He’s shown it time and time again – a willingness to dig deep and battle when his back is against the wall. He’s tasked with teaching the Cubs’ young core to do just that, and we’ve seen the impact of Lester and other veterans this year with the club fighting down to the last pitch on a daily basis.

Jon Lester hasn’t been good of-late. But don’t be shocked if he turns it around on a dime come September and puts this team on his back to carry them to the postseason for the first time in over a half-decade.

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