Chicago Cubs starter, Jon Lester had many questions surrounding him heading into the 2020 season. It’s still early, but he is showing that he’s still got it.
Going into the 2020 season, questions were surrounding the Cubs starting staff. Who would be the Opening Day starter? Who would be the fifth starter? Where would Jon Lester fall into all of that? Then it made manager David Ross’s decisions were even harder when Jose Quintana got hurt right before the players reported back for summer camp.
As we all know, Ross went with Kyle Hendricks as the Cubs Opening Day starter, and that decision looked brilliant after what Hendricks did on Opening Day, pitching a complete game shutout. Tyler Chatwood was most likely going to be the fifth starter before the Quintana injury, after the injury he was most definitely going to be in the rotation. Ross went with Chatwood as the third starter. After the Quintana injury, Alec Mills became the fifth starter, and Yu Darvish was the second starter.
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This was the changing of the guard for the Cubs rotation as Hendricks and Darvish moved to the top, and Lester moved to the bottom of the rotation. So far, the change to the back part of the rotation has not phased Lester at all.
Lester started his season on the road in Cincinnati and he was great. He pitched five innings of no-hit ball. He only recorded one strikeout but induced lots of soft contact all night. Lester was the first pitcher over the age of 35 to pitch five no-hit innings since Nolan Ryan did it in 1990.
Lester’s second start was back at the friendly confines against the Pittsburgh Pirates. After giving up a solo homer in the first, he settled in and was excellent once again, pitching six innings with four strikeouts and just the one run.
His last start was on Tuesday night in Cleveland. This was his first start in nine days because of the series with the Cardinals was postponed. Lester continued his hot start even with the layoff, pitching six innings striking out four and giving up only one run. Lester had all his pitches working, the fastball, cutter, and the changeup.
On the season, Lester is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three games started. One of the telling stats is only nine strikeouts in total in those three games, but that doesn’t tell the entire story. He’s been inducing so much soft contact and letting his defense behind him go to work. It’s happened in every Lester start this season, strikeouts down and much more soft contact.
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Lester has been great to start the shortened 2020 season, which may come to a surprise to some people. To the people that have seen him so much over the last five seasons, it is no surprise. We all know how much of a gamer Lester is. When he takes the ball, all he’s looking to do is give his guys a chance to win. I fully expect Lester to continue this throughout this 2020 season.