If you are Way Too Online, you have probably seen a nickname pop up for Jon Lester over the last two years: BDJ.
The nickname, which sandwiches another word in between Big Jon, underscores something that is just consistently true about this dude. Even as the stuff and velocity leave him, that intangible quality suggested by the nickname is still there. The guy just doesn’t get intimidated or overwhelmed by any situation whatsoever. He rises to the occasion.
Sure, sometimes he gets blown up because he’s not hitting his spots, but you never see Jon Lester just melt out there. You know the look when you see it – when something goes sideways for a softer guy, and he starts to fall apart mentally. Lester? The defense misplays one or he doesn’t get a call … well, he might let you know what you’ve done, but he’ll get right back to work after that.
So it was yesterday for BDJ, who not only threw 6.0 scoreless innings, but three times had to work out of significant jams thanks to the defense and the strike zone. Unfazed, he did it.
Here was the tightest spot, with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 5th inning of a 0-0 game:
Jonny Houdini pic.twitter.com/cj9cwFVFXl
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 17, 2019
BDJ. That’s BDJ right there.
Joe Maddon tried to articulate it in his own way. “Jonny, after some tough moments, showed what he’s made out of,” Maddon told Cubs.com. “For lack of a better way to put it, he’s just tough.” Oh, but there’s a better way to put it, Joe. BEE DEE JAY.
The performance got Lester’s ERA back under league average, by the way, and his peripherals continue to look strong. He had good life, too, yesterday, with his four-seamer sitting near 92 mph, and touching 93 mph. His cutter even hit 91 mph at one point. Perhaps he’ll be feeling extra frisky down the stretch this year.