Jon Lester's Great Year Sets a Cubs Record and Other Bullets

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Jon Lester’s Great Year Sets a Cubs Record and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

jon lester cubs featureA couple big things earlier this morning if you didn’t see: the Cubs won their motion to have the rooftops’ lawsuit dismissed, and the Cubs will not be hosting a Wild Card Game viewing party at Wrigley Field (but please drop a comment in that post if you’re interested in a BN get-together somewhere in Wrigleyville to watch the game).

  • Jon Lester’s debut season – regular season edition – with the Chicago Cubs wrapped up last night with an eight-inning gem against the Reds. Despite a dead arm in Spring Training that freaked everyone out, Lester made all 32 of his starts this season (continuing an incredible streak of starting at least 31 games every season since his rookie year). Moreover, despite periodic performance freak outs from the impatient corners of Cubs fandom, in the fullness of time, Lester was as good as advertised this year. Consider the following:
    • Lester’s 3.34 ERA was his best – outside of last year’s career-best 2.46 – since 2010.
    • His 2.93 FIP was the best of his career, again, outside of last year’s 2.80.
    • His 3.07 xFIP was the best of his career. Full stop.
    • His 5.0 WAR was just shy of the 5.5 mark he put up last year in a season everyone agreed was incredible. The last time he was over 5.0 was 2009.
    • Lester’s ERA was 15th best in the NL. His FIP was 8th best. His xFIP was 6th best. His WAR was 8th best.
  • Moreover, with his strikeouts last night, Lester reached 207 on the season, which is a new record for lefty Cubs starters (Ken Holtzman, 202 in 1970).
  • Starlin Castro’s continued break-back-out (more on that in a bit) has given Joe Maddon an abundance of options at second base for the Wild Card Game, and he’s not letting anyone know just yet which way he’s leaning (Tribune). It’s tricky because it’s just one game, and it’s going to be against a righty – Gerrit Cole – who is especially tough on righties. Castro is probably the best offensive option right now … but Tommy La Stella bats lefty, and he’s hitting well, too. But in a probably-low-scoring game, Javy Baez’s superior defense might be even more valuable. Hell, I can make an argument for getting one of those guys in there over even Addison Russell. I won’t make that argument, because I think Russell’s still the best overall option at shortstop, but the fact that you could even argue it is incredible.
  • One thing the Cubs haven’t done well this year: getting guys home from third with fewer than two outs.
  • Scoreboard Watching.
  • A couple very, very fun tweets:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.