Chicago Cubs: Jon Lester keeps rolling

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Even in games he gives up a few runs, veteran pitcher Jon Lester continues to grind his way through.

Many uneasy feelings from Chicago Cubs fans after the series in Milwaukee were settled Friday night in St. Louis with the Cubs and their 13-5 victory. While the big story was Kris Bryant and the offense breaking out, Jon Lester‘s performance cannot be ignored either.

The lefty veteran went six innings giving up two runs on five hits with three strikeouts. The only blemishes on his night were two solo Cardinal home runs. Other than that his command looked good, only one walk, and his velocity was reaching 93 mph. Also, a good thing to see from him.

Giving up less than three

Lester’s ERA on the season is now 2.28, which is by far the best of any Cubs starter. Friday night marked the sixth-straight outing which Lester went six-plus innings. Going back to the start of May, he sports a 1.98 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and .194 average against in eight starts, total 50 innings of work. He has struck out 42 batters and walked 15 in that span. His last start also was the seventh time in his last eight starts he allowed less than three earned runs.

Finding all ways to be effective

Jon Lester entered Friday night top-10 in ERA among qualifying pitchers in baseball. Most of the pitchers around him had K/9 (strikeouts per-nine-innings) ratings of nine to nearly 12. Lester had been getting it done with a K/9 in the sevens, much lower than guys like Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Luis Severino and Jacob deGrom.

This does not take anything away from Lester; he was never a strikeout machine like Scherzer. He just gets the job done. The strikeout numbers are certainly not bad, just not crazy good. Even when he is getting four or fewer strikeouts in a game like Friday, he still is effective to get outs via weak contact. He has been able to get good results even when his stuff is not the best.

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Jon Lester is a grinder, probably the most accurate way to describe him. The ability to locate and execute like he can in any situation is clearly still there. Just have to hope he can keep it up, but with his track record, there is a reason for optimism.