Chicago Cubs: Big Jon needs to have a big year
Jon Lester needs no introduction, and he certainly has nothing left to prove to anyone in this game. However, knowing the kind of competitor that Lester is between the lines, there’s no way he wants to go out as mediocre or anything less than great. And, after a very mediocre 13-10 season in which he posted a 4.46 ERA and logged just 171 IP, you can guarantee that Lester will be better this season.
More than just his need to get better and compete, Lester’s stats throughout his career also tell the tale of an even year push and an odd-year curse that bodes well for 2020 (97-51 in even years, 82-55 in odd ones). This may or may not speak to Lester’s desire and ability to work on his weaknesses and get back to what makes him great, but it is a trend to keep in mind and watch during the season.
Don’t be surprised if Lester puts up a year that looks a lot like his 2018 season- an excellent 18-6 record with a 3.32 ERA despite a 4.39 FIP that suggests Lester fared better than he should have. Lester has a way of exceeding expectations, leaving runners on base, and bearing down when he has to so that FIP is no surprise whenever Lester can outperform that number.