Chicago Cubs: Jon Lester’s return to form played huge role for the team

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: With the season on the line, Lester steps up

Looking back at the final month of the Cubs’ 2018 campaign, you can point to all kinds of ways it went wrong. The offense ranked 11th in the National League with a .670 OPS, Kris Bryant clearly never got back to 100 percent in returning from his shoulder injury and, as a whole, the Milwaukee Brewers played out of their minds down the stretch.

One culprit you’ll never see fingered? Lester, who pitched to a 1.52 ERA in the month of September, allowing a grand total of five earned runs over that span. In his one loss, he allowed only three earned. Shockingly enough, that loss lands at the feet of the offense, which tallied just two runs on five hits against Milwaukee.

After the team coughed up thier lead in the National League Central, Joe Maddon turned to his lefty ace in a win-or-go-home Wild Card game at Wrigley Field. And, per usual, the veteran stepped up on the biggest stage, striking out nine and allowing just one run over six innings. But, again, the offense fell flat and, just like that, the season was over.

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Now that we have some separation from that disappointing ending, perhaps we can more fully appreciate how Lester did everything asked of him from start to finish yet again for the Cubs. You already got a ring with him, the goal when they brought him to the North Side. But after his strong showing in 2018 as a mid-30s hurler, you can’t help but think he’s ready for a couple more.