Chicago Cubs Jon Lester keeps grinding, not seeing the results

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Cubs’ Jon Lester is in the tail-end of his six-year contract and is still pitching well. But he hasn’t had that great stretch that he has in years past. He ‘s just grinding and waiting on it.

The Chicago CubsJon Lester came to the team to help them turn the corner. It was the first massive acquisition under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, and it’s proved to be fruitful, even on the latter half of his six-year deal. But in Lester’s time here, he’s been known for streaks where he’s untouchable for a month. He hasn’t had that yet. Is it yet to come, or can he no longer sustain dominance for that long?

Lester is considered a ‘grinder.’ He may not have his best stuff, but he’ll find a way to give Joe Maddon all he has, and then want to give more when he pulls him. That’s just Lester. It’s who he was in Boston. It’s still who he is in Chicago. Lately, he’s more often not had his best stuff. This is a breakdown of Lester’s numbers month by month (Lester made a trip to the IL in April.)

Since he’s been in Chicago, he’s won three Pitcher of the Month awards–June and September of 2016 and June 2018. He hasn’t pitched as well as he wants to this season. One reason has been pitch count. As you can see, Lester’s strikeouts have gone up each month.

In June, he made six starts throwing 100+ pitches in four of the six. He completed seven innings just one time. He had two outings that he threw 114 and 117 pitches but didn’t make it into the sixth.

And in June, he has given up some long balls. He’s allowed eight home runs, a bit high for Lester. But, to be honest, everyone is giving up more home runs. So that can’t be placed on Lester alone.

He knows that the bullpen has had its ups and downs, and I think he’s tried to be too fine in his outings. His goal seems to be to leave as little time as possible for the bullpen to give it away. But as the bullpen gets more formidable, Lester is going to have to trust them.

It’s no secret that he’s one of my favorite in the game. He’s a cancer survivor, and I’m doing all I can to beat my brain cancer. He doesn’t make excuses, and he’ll give everything he has–even if it’s a Wednesday night game against an AL opponent. He’s a competitor, a fighter and a grinder.

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Lester will put it all together soon. July would be helpful, but a September Pitcher of the Month would be fine, too. Kyle Hendricks will start tomorrow for the Chicago Cubs, but he will be on a pitch count. So Lester needs to bring his ‘A’ game tonight and give 7+ innings.

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