Lester's Tough Night, Hader Blows It, Big Z Returns, and Other Bullets

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Lester’s Tough Night, Hader Blows It, Big Z Returns, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I know, I’m just a whiny hack at this point, but my hopes for tonight’s ‘Game of Thrones’ finale are through the floor. Maybe that’ll help me enjoy it more? Oh, but yes, sorry Cubs/Nats: when GOT starts, I will be watching that and not the game. Take it up with ESPN.

  • Jon Lester was due for a bit of a stinker, though I’d still contend that last night wasn’t *that* bad. He just had trouble getting guys put away after two strikes, and the Nationals did a good job of barreling the pitches he left up. They put seven balls in play of 100 mph or better on exit velocity. You do that, and get a little good luck/help from the opposing defense, and you’re gonna score some runs.

  • The outing raised Lester’s ERA from a league-best 1.16 to a 5th-best 2.09. It was bound to happen at some point, and maybe especially after throwing so many pitches in crummy conditions his last time out. His peripherals are still great this year, with all of his K rate, BB rate, GB rate, HR rate, FB rate and LD rate all significantly improved so far from last year.
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
  • While I was licking my wounds from the Cubs’ loss last night, I tuned into Brewers/Braves in time to see the Brewers come back in the 9th and tie the game on back-to-back choppers that bounced over the heads of Braves infielders. It was insane, and perversely lucky. Thus, I felt absolutely no compunction about enjoying the heck out of what happened the next inning, as Freddie Freeman showed Josh Hader what was up:

  • That’s just what you have to do against Hader: swing hard and hope you connect. That’s why all his peripherals are amazing except one: 2.11 HR/9. (Also, of note: that fastball was just 94 mph. The inning before, Hader was consistently hitting 97/98.)
  • More on the pitcher the Cubs picked up on waivers yesterday:

  • Big Z is back at it, making his debut with the Independent League Chicago Dogs last night:

  • Amazon loading up the good Deals of the Day today, from patio furniture to sound machines to books to air fryers to yard equipment. (I am old, but yes, those all sound great to me. Not sorry.)
  • Although the NL East was (understandably, IMO) built up to be a juggernaut of a division in the offseason, it’s now looking like it might be a spectacular dud. The Nationals and Mets have been so disappointing that it’s been a public discussion which of their managers could get the boot first. Given the way the Nationals operate, I’d be shocked if they didn’t just let Dave Martinez finish out his contract. As for the Mets, though, you just never know what absurd thing they will do next … which very much sounds like an inevitable firing ASAP:

  • And elsewhere in the East … good God, Jeter:

  • Special note from Michael, Alex, and Kevin: Hey, E-baby. We’re sorry we forgot your birthday. We owe ya big time and we’ll make it up to you! Have a good day, hit the links, and we’ll see you soon.

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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.