Chicago Cubs: Jon Lester looking more comfortable in year two
In 2015, the Chicago Cubs went out and found themselves another veteran to help boost their five-man starting rotation. Lester ended his first year with the Cubs as the second best pitcher on their staff.
Jon Lester’s struggles, or lack thereof, with the Chicago Cubs in his first season are well documented after signing a 6-year, $155 million dollar contract. But, with the bad April, the dead-arm fiasco in Spring Training, the throwing to first, and all of the expectations he had, he just looked uncomfortable out there at times.
This is not the case in year two, Lester looks much more comfortable on the mound, early in 2016. In 2015, Lester pitched to the tune of a 3.34 ERA. That’s not bad, by any means. The 32-year-old southpaw pitched over 200 innings and set the franchise record for K’s by a left-handed starter in a season.
He did have bouts of inconsistency, in April he posted a 6.23 ERA, in June he had a 5.74 ERA, and August he had an ERA of just over five; whereas in May, he posted an ERA under two, and an ERA under two in July as well.
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Let us not forget the offense, he didn’t record his first hit until July last season, a single off of the leg of his now teammate, John Lackey. In 2016, he recorded his first hit in his last start on Sunday, it was a double off the wall.
Lester just seems to be going about his game this year, and not feeling any pressure, he’s just doing what he does best, and that’s pitching. He will always struggle with throws to first, whether it be on a pick off or on a grounder back to the mound.
Seems like fans will be able to deal with the bad throws, or lack of throws, if he just keeps getting people out, which is what he’s doing.
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Believe it or not, Lester’s year last year was right around his career averages, as his career ERA currently sits at 3.54, compared to 3.34 last year, that sounds about right. His 205 innings were his seventh season of 200 innings pitched or better, and his 207 strikeouts were his fourth season of 200 or more strikeouts.
All in all, a very, very solid year one on the North Side for Mr. Lester. This year, looking more comfortable, and just doing his thing, not worrying about expectations should only benefit him and the Chicago Cubs in the long run. He’s currently 1-1 with an ERA a little above two with a K/BB ratio of 19/4.