In the month of June, Cubs veteran Jon Lester made five starts against four fairly tough teams (Dodgers twice, Cardinals, Pirates, and Mets) allowing a grand total of just four earned runs over 32.0 innings pitched. He also won all five of those games, and, justly, Major League Baseball took notice:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 2, 2018
Congrats to Jon Lester, who has just been named the Pitcher of the Month in his league for the 4th time in his career! Woo!
As the graphic indicates, Lester earned a pristine 1.13 ERA throughout the month of June and while the haterz might point to his much higher 3.70 FIP, that’s not entirely fair. Lester is the type of pitcher who can (and has consistently this season) outperform his peripherals. And while the batted ball data isn’t the best of his career, it’s hard for me to believe that he’s gotten this lucky for this long.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I tend not to care about peripherals when were talking about handing out awards for past performance. I know we don’t all agree on this, and perhaps we can get into it more another time, but when looking back on a performance, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to more strongly weight what actually happened and reward a player for it, because, you know, it happened. That doesn’t AT ALL mean it’s likely to continue happening, but, hey, give the guy credit for getting the job done.
So to that end, yeah, Lester killed it in June. His 1.13 ERA was tops in the National League while second best in all of baseball and his five wins leads the pack (tied with Zach Eflin and Zack Greinke). Along the same lines, his 0.84 WHIP during the last month ranks first in the NL and third in MLB while his .155 batting average against is essential tied for first with Chris Sale (.154).
Lucky or not, Jon Lester has been huge for the Cubs this season and they’ll need him to continue killing it for the rest of the year.