Faced with the prospect of Tuesday’s win-or-go home Wild Card game, the Chicago Cubs turn to one of the best in the game in veteran southpaw Jon Lester.
It goes without saying. The Chicago Cubs never wanted to wind up here, playing for the right to continue their season in Tuesday’s Wild Card game at Wrigley Field.
They had the National League Central in hand at the beginning of September. Had they won just one more game, they could have been sitting at home as National League Central champions for the third-straight season, waiting on the Wild Card winner to come to Wrigley for the National League Division Series.
And yet here they are, in a must-win situation, with the season on the line after they lost the division tiebreaker to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday afternoon.
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No time left to sulk about the predicament they are in. It’s time to win a baseball game, and Jon Lester is, without a doubt, the man for the job.
A proven competitor
The veteran southpaw, who the Cubs signed in the offseason prior to the 2015 season, will take the mound for the Cubs on Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies and left-hander Kyle Freeland.
Lester and Freeland are both lefties and have both had successful 2018 seasons. But unlike Freeland, Lester has been there before. He has made 22 postseason starts and pitched in two World Series elimination games for the Cubs.
His overall postseason ERA is just 2.55. Lester has shown time and time again that he is the guy to pitch in a must-win game. Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he guts his way through frames, keeping his team in the ballgame. He is the ace the Cubs need on the mound in this, a dire situation.
Who else would you rather have?
At the end of the day, no one else on the Cubs pitching staff is suited for this situation better than Lester, and that is likely why they drew it up so he’d be set to go in a potential Wild Card game.
Kyle Hendricks has pitched tremendously well in must-win situations before, but early this season, he struggled in the first inning. Also, the Cubs would need him to be their Game One starter, should they advance to the NLDS.
Cole Hamels will be available out of the bullpen on Tuesday as another veteran option. Hamels has plenty of postseason experience himself, having started 16 postseason games in his career. He will be the guy the Cubs turn to out of the bullpen if need be.
Still, Lester is the number one guy Chicago wants to pitch tonight. He has proven he can do it in a Cubs uniform, and his resurgent performance this season shows that he is up to the task. Lester will be ready to put it all on the line to start a’ challenging pursuit toward another World Series title.
Whether or not the Cubs wanted to end up in the Wild Card game, at least the situation is in their favor tonight: Jon Lester on the mound at Wrigley Field in a win-or-go home game. What more could you ask for?