Although we still hear quite frequently about Jon Lester’s issues throwing to bases, and the recent years of free bases he gives up, we haven’t actually seen it in practice.
That’s partly because Lester remains very good at quickly getting the ball to the plate, changing his delivery times, and keeping runners off balance (and occasionally flat-out charging at them if they stray too far), but it’s also because Willson Contreras has been a beast back there with his arm.
It’s no longer quite as simple as “welp, Lester gave up a single, so that’s really a double.”
Still, even if it’s not as easy as you’d think to run on Lester, you can at least still get a monstrous lead against him, so long as you guard against the back throw by Contreras. I mean, it’s not like Lester is actually going to throw over to first base. Sure, he’ll step off and fake like it, but he’s not gonna thr…
— MLB (@MLB) June 3, 2017
It wasn’t pretty, but that was an actual pick-off throw to first base. It was like Lester had finally had enough, and, without even really thinking, just chucked the ball over there. It’s like he got out of his own way, and just did it.
It was amazing.
If it weren’t for the Kyle Schwarber grand slam that gave the Cubs the comeback win, this Lester pickoff would have been the highlight of the game. Heck, maybe it still is! It’s certainly more unicorn-like these days!
I got a little too excited watching in the bleachers:
I got so excited about the Lester pickoff that I sat on my own full beer.
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) June 3, 2017
I was a little sad to see my beer laid out all over the ground (and my pant leg), but it was such a dang exciting moment. It was worth it.