Jon Lester's Adjustments Are Working But He Still Hated Getting Pulled and Other Bullets

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Jon Lester’s Adjustments Are Working But He Still Hated Getting Pulled and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It’s been a very good thing that this week in the Cubs’ world has been so nuts and active, because otherwise I’m sure I would have lost myself down some political wormholes and Ohio State wormholes. Lot goin’ on out there. But there’s been plenty of Cubs to distract me …

  • Jon Lester was solid again last night, though he was not pleased to be pulled when he was in the 6th inning ( “As a competitor, you’re not always going to like the decisions of your boss. That’s nothing against Joe [Maddon]. I respect the hell out of Joe. He’s done a great job managing our team since he’s been here. As a competitor, I don’t have to like the decision. It doesn’t mean I don’t respect our manager and what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to win a baseball game and if he feels that’s the time to make the move, that’s the time to make the move.” It certainly helps that Steve Cishek got out of the inning.
  • Speaking of Cishek: best Cubs free agent signing? Gotta be, right? He now has a 1.78(!) ERA over 61 appearances and 58.0 innings of relief. The guy has been a freak.
  • Joe Maddon ain’t scared:

  • Hopefully we’re seeing a meaningful adjustment from Lester these last couple very successful starts. The velocity and movement haven’t necessarily shown obvious issues, but Lester tells that he has instead been working on the angle of his fastball in his last three starts. Sure enough, looking at Brooks, you can see clear changes in his horizontal and vertical release points the last few starts, so he’s obviously adjusting something mechanically. That’s a good sign when it’s paired with results.
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
  • The Cubs have gone 3-3 in these six games, so that kinda sucks:

  • What’s incredible is that the Cubs probably could have had similar pitching and LOST another game or two in that stretch, given that two of the three wins were 1-0.
  • Daniel Murphy had a successful Cubs debut, with a couple hits and an RBI, and he sounds very enthused to be part of this team ( “I’ve seen the maturation of [Javier Baez] over the years and Rizzo has had fantastic at-bats, and I’ve seen Willson Contreras grow up right in front of my eyes. Jason Heyward is having a really good year, too. I’m just going to fall in line. That’s my job is to come in here and compete every single pitch and fall in line …. I told [Joe Maddon] to deploy me as he sees fit. This is about winning a championship.”
  • For the record, Jed Hoyer says the Cubs did consider Murphy’s past comments about the “gay lifestyle” before acquiring him this week, and reached out to MLB’s Ambassador for Inclusion Billy Bean, who was the subject of Murphy’s comments in 2015 (Sun-Times). “We wanted to get his impression on it,” Hoyer said. “He was really positive and thought the organization could really benefit from his presence. We felt it was important to make that phone call.” I am pleased to know that the Cubs did affirmatively consider this issue before proceeding. I still wish – for me personally, as a Cubs fan – I could hear from Murphy directly about how his perspective has evolved (or not) over the past three years and through his friendship with Bean, but I accept that it probably isn’t going to happen.
  • I mean, does this surprise anyone in the slightest:

  • For all his recent offensive struggles, and his continued development as a receiver, I still don’t think there’s a better defensive catcher in baseball. Contreras doesn’t just make the plays available to him, he’s an affirmative weapon. He changes the running game for the other team, while also making outs appear out of nowhere in the situations you need them most.
  • Man, Sammy didn’t just hit little shots – he hit BOMBS, even when it kinda looked like he was a little off-balance:

  • Three and a half Tommy John surgeries later, this is so cool:

  • He might be ready, but I’m not sure I am:

  • All right, Coach. I’m gonna trust you:

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.