Chicago Cubs Jon Lester can complete the sweep tonight with a win over the New York Mets. Couldn’t the matchup had been in September and not August?
The Chicago Cubs Jon Lester will look for the sweep tonight over the New York Mets. But for myself, like Lester, wish it was in September. And three of the five games have been on the road, and he’s fared better in those contests. Not by much, mind you. But Big Jon will take what he can get.
It’s been an August to forget for Lester. In five starts already this month, Lester is 1-3 with an 8.51 ERA. He’s only struck out 24 batters while walking 12, and his BAA is .346. His BAbip is an astounding .413. He’s getting walloped in every sense of the word. In a start at Pittsburgh, he threw 103 pitches but lasted until just the sixth inning. He didn’t allow any runs, the one time he didn’t in August.
If Lester is going to have success, he needs to spot the cutter and get the curveball going. In the last month, Lester has just seven percent strikes swinging. When he’s on top of his game, he usually has 12-14% strikes swinging. But to be honest, with a .413 BAbip? They’re hitting everything that Lester throws up there.
Lester has taken it on himself to pitch better. He has to; he has no choice. The Cubs anticipated this with Lester. When the tail end of his deal came, they expected regression. But it’s ‘big boy time.’ Lester is going to have to pitch better than he has for the stretch run, or he’s going to be left off the playoff roster–if there is one.
The Cubs are two-games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the Central, and three-games behind the Washington Nationals in the second Wild Card spot. They’re just two-games up on the Philadelphia Phillies in the Wild Card race.
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The Cubs have no wiggle room and have to sweep this series at New York. Lester can make that happen and put August in his rearview. He’s started the first games of the month, which has led to six starts in three months of the season. He won’t start six games this month. But if Lester gets on a hot streak? We may want him too.