So as not to start your morning out on the sour, bullpen note(s) that we all know is coming later today, I wanted to share a little bit about Jon Lester’s NO-HIT performance. Hey, the Cubs did win after all.
To be sure, through five no-hit innings, you’d anticipate more whiffs than just 2 out of 76 pitches, and more than one strikeout. He also averaged 86.6 mph on the sum of his pitches last night. Usually, those would be indicators of a whole lot of flukey luck on balls in play to get 15 outs with none of them falling in. Rockets finding mitts and all that, right?
But you know what? The Reds actually couldn’t hit him:
Jon Lester may have struck out only one through his hitless five innings, but let's be clear, the Reds weren't doing diddly poo when making contact: pic.twitter.com/Ngd6fLGzUa
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 28, 2020
Not a single ball in play had even a 50% chance of being a hit based on the quality of contact. Heck, eight of them had a 2% chance or worse! Those might as well be strikeouts.
Lester’s night was always going to be limited by his pitch count – he was gonna max at around 80 pitches, based on his level of stretched-out-ness – but you could imagine him having gone six hitless without the two errors behind him. That’s about as good as a night gets for a guy who isn’t getting whiffs. And with a fastball that averaged 89.3 mph, Lester was the quintessential “soft-tossing lefty” that pisses guys off. He threw five different pitches at least six times out of 76 pitches, changed speeds with very similar offerings, changed eye level, located well, and on and on.
Enjoy the highlights: