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jon lester cubs featureWe’re off to a great start on the Make-A-Wish Blogathon fundraiser, nearly a third of the way to the first goal of $6,000 in just one day – still a bit to go. Remember: that sponsors one child’s wish, and also bumps up my Blogathon commitment at the Trade Deadline from 24 hours (boo, who wants only 24 hours of coverage?) to 32 hours. And I’m willing to add on another hour for every $1,000 we get from there.

So, if you want crazy coverage and want to do some good, please go here and click “Donate to this Fundraiser.” And maybe tell your baseball-lovin’ friends and family about it. (Full details here.)

  • On a less hopeful and positive note, the Cubs lost once again to the Cardinals last night in ignominious fashion, making them 2-8 against their rivals … but … and here’s the hopeful/positive turn … 42-29 against everyone else. Maybe┬áthat’s a heartening reminder that the losses to St. Louis say as much about the Cardinals’ freakish goodness as they do about any real Cubs struggles. The Cubs are a good team. They just haven’t been able to win consistently in these first 10 games against the Cardinals in 2015. That’s really as far as you can go.
  • The other at-least-that-was-nice thing to take away was Jon Lester’s dominating performance. Forget the near no-hitter, and focus on how well he was commanding his pitches (including, most critically, his cutter to righties). Lester went seven innings without giving up an earned run, striking out eight, allowing just two walks and two hits. That was probably his best outing of the year – and it came with Miguel Montero catching him. No, I’m not suggesting Montero is now suddenly a better fit for catching Lester than David Ross, and that Lester will always be great with Montero behind the plate. But I am suggesting that this start hopefully proved to anyone who matters – Lester? the coaching staff? – that Lester can have success with someone besides Ross behind the plate. Maybe there are other reasons to have Ross catching every Lester start – I can’t really think of them, other than built-in rest for Montero – but it would be nice to be able to work the platoons a bit more.
  • After the start, Lester’s xFIP fell to 3.21, 20th best in all of baseball. His 2.0 WAR is tied for 25th among pitchers. Lester has been quite good of late, and that’s far more important for the Cubs’ second half than any single game against the Cardinals.
  • The Cubs and White Sox will honor Ernie Banks and Minnie Minoso when they play this season (Cubs.com).
  • I’m headed to Chicago this morning so I can head to the second half of the doubleheader this evening – if you’re in the bleachers, come find me in right field – so I wasn’t able to do the Minor League Daily. But here’s the Cubs’ affiliate scoreboard, on which you can see the latest box scores.

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