Chicago inked themselves a World Series veteran when they nabbed a southpaw in free agency. Even now, he remains an important piece to this starting rotation.
It’s safe to say that Jon Lester proved his worth to the Chicago Cubs. Sure, he has experienced some turbulence but has always bounced back with a jaw-dropping performance.
Leading into the weekend series with the Washington Nationals after taking the opener, the Cubs are hoping to gain some ground. Currently, they are 4 1/2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers, gearing up for another division title.
Thankfully, Milwaukee was unable to complete a three-game sweep. Now, all attention lies ahead in what is the final stretch leading to the postseason. So far, odds are in Chicago’s favor.
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This starting rotation has felt a pinch from the injury bug this season, losing Yu Darvish. Darvish was Chicago’s next big contract following Lester’s that he had signed several years ago.
With only weeks left, the Cubs pitching staff needs to buckle up if they have any hopes of keeping the dream alive.
Another World Series championship would be nice but there is plenty of work left to be done.
Enter, once again, Jon Lester.
Since his horrific 3 2/3 inning, eight earned run performance on Aug. 11, Lester has been absolutely lights out on the mound. Joe Maddon‘s 34-year-old veteran took his frustrations out on the Pirates in his next outing.
Over the course of six innings, Jon kept the Pirates scoreless, limiting them to five hits while striking out eight. It was his 13th victory of the year and the performance carried into an Interleague meeting with Detroit.
Yielding one earned run, the Cubs backed him three runs of support. The Tigers tallied seven hits in addition to the one run, fanning three times and working a walk. Still, the road team emerged victorious by the final score of 8-2 in Daniel Murphy‘s debut as a Cub, I might add.
Lester finished August with a record of 2-1, 17 earned runs and a 20/7 K/BB ratio.
Today, it’s about redeeming himself from that beating he had suffered at the hands of the Nationals. Last time around, Ryan Zimmerman clubbed two homers off Lester while Murphy joined in with a two-run shot of his own.
Let’s hope Murphy is able to find the bleachers in his old home, this time with our uniform on his back. Winning at least two games over the weekend is a must for this team.
Milwaukee begins a set with the San Francisco Giants while St. Louis travels out to Detroit. St. Louis is riding a two-game streak, winning their series with the Nationals on Wednesday.
First pitch is set another evening start at 6:05 PM central time. Starting opposite Lester will be right-hander, Joe Ross. It’ll be Ross’ first start of the campaign.
Get those bats hot, boys!