Yesterday was a hot, and humid day – the athlete equivalent of the dark and stormy night. Jon Lester was sweating profusely, and had recorded the first two outs of the 7th inning quickly in a one-run game. The next two batters reached on infield dribblers, and Andrew McCutchen came to plate, threatening to take the Cubs’ lead and end Lester’s day. After two quick strikes to McCutchen, Lester needed a moment, and Joe Maddon came to the mound to check on his pitcher. Thankfully, it was merely a cramp, and Lester powered through, managing to strike out McCutchen to end the inning.
The whole thing was a microcosm of what the Cubs intended Lester to be when they committed $155 million to get him to sign on this offseason. It felt good.
His stuff was fantastic yesterday, as Lester got 16(!) swings and misses, and some nicely-framed strikes, too:
That’s a dominating outing right there, and exactly the kind we’ve been hoping for from Lester, especially against a playoff contender.
After the game, Lester’s ERA/FIP/xFIP line improved to 3.70/3.42/3.27, and he’s given up just 5 earned runs in May over 27 innings (1.67 ERA).