Chicago Cubs: How Jon Lester can get off to a fast start in 2018
By Logan Whaley
Jon Lester will take the bump for the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day. As the season approaches, match-ups are key with Lester wanting to get off to a fast start.
As we have officially turned the calendar over to March, it means we are now down to waiting a total of zero months for baseball to start in an official capacity. It is time to start the final countdown and to get excited.
For the Chicago Cubs, the team is looking to get off to a fast start. Expressly, the man who will hopefully help them to do that is Jon Lester.
It is the third time in the last four seasons where Lester has started Opening Day. He has become “the guy” for Joe Maddon, someone Maddon can rely on to help breed success. It also gives Lester an excellent chance to get off to a fast start in 2018.
Last season, for the first time in the previous five years and first time as a Cub, Lester failed to cross the two-hundred inning threshold. Due mainly to disabled-list trips for shoulder fatigue as well in part to the hangover that plagued the Cubs for much of 2017, Lester is hoping to establish success early and often.
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Marlins and Reds up first
As a result, there is a strong possibility that happens for Lester. His first two match-ups pit him against the Miami Marlins and the Cincinnati Reds.
Unfortunately, in his career, Lester has posted a 5.21 ERA against the Marlins. That being said, the Marlins are now without Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, and Christian Yelich. Cubs fans should like Lester’s chances for success.
As far as the Reds are concerned, Lester has found a little more success versus Cincinnati. Lester has a career 4.27 ERA. It is important to realize too that Lester he has held them to a .247 batting average.
The first two match-ups of the season certainly favor Lester. However, that may not be the best part of his quest for early season success. What is more important to realize is how he will avoid the newly high-powered Brewers as well as the Cardinals in the team’s first meetings.
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Surprisingly, Lester has pitched exceptionally in his career as a Cub versus the Cardinals, posting a 2.29 ERA in 82 2/3 innings pitched. Milwaukee is the same story as the Cardinals, as Lester has posted a career 2.66 ERA in 23 2/3 innings. Conversely, that was before the Brewers added Lorenzo Cain and former Marlin Christian Yelich.
With this in mind, Lester is primed for early season success. It will give him a legitimate shot to hopefully start fast and return to his dominant self he was just a couple seasons ago.