Chicago Cubs: This player is feeling the most pressure this month
1. Jon Lester – You may think Anthony Rizzo is the leader of this team but if you ask him, he would probably say Lester is the man. In 2014, Lester signed a six-year, $155 million deal with the Cubs with the option for a seventh year at $15 million. So Lester is not going away in 2020 or maybe even 2021.
As the leader of the club, the grizzled veteran puts incredible pressure on himself to perform and when he doesn’t, he’s not shy about taking all of the Cubs blame. Last month, Lester gave up 11 runs in an 11-4 defeat by the Oakland Athletics. After the game, Lester didn’t mince words as he told reporters he was the ‘weakest link’ in the Cubs staff.
No one believes Lester is the weakest link in the bullpen and his history of overcoming adversity is almost a lesson for pitcher’s struggling. In August 2006, Lester was diagnosed with a form of cancer that he beat within four months. This fight for his life empowered Lester to ‘never quit’ which became the name of his established foundation (NVRQT) in 2011 to support children with cancer.
If there’s one player on the Cubs who feels the weight of the team on his shoulders and the pressure to win big; it’s Jon Lester. The good news is, every Cubs fan knows, Lester will never quit.
From players to coaches, no one is really immune from the pressure this month to get into the postseason. With a St. Louis Cardinals team playing stronger than ever in September, pressure could be twice as high in a week.
Cases could be made for outfielders Jason Heyward and Ian Happ or shortstop Javier Baez and especially Joe Maddon for being under the most stress in September. How they overcome or succumb to the pressure will determine who we will see in the postseason.