#Cubs Lester loses 6th straight

This isn’t exactly how Jon Lester envisioned his first half with the Cubs. The left-hander dropped his career-high sixth-straight loss on Saturday in the Cubs’ 5-1 loss to the crosstown White Sox despite posting his 12th quality start of the season. Lester has not won in his last 10 starts, dating to May 16. It doesn’t help that the Cubs have scored three runs in his last six outings.

“I think there’s an overall team frustration,” Lester said of the Cubs, who lost their third straight game. “I don’t think you can point fingers at anybody. We all accept blame at different times.”

Lester served up five runs — four earned — on seven hits over seven innings in the loss, and took the time to watch video of the game, which he normally doesn’t do. After review, the lefty said he felt he made three mistakes, with two coming in the first on Adam Eaton’s lead off double followed by Tyler Saladino’s triple. The third was in the seventh when Tyler Flowers hit a two-run double.

“Somehow, you make three mistakes and give up five runs with no walks,” Lester said. “It’s a tough one.”

It’s been a tough first half. Lester, now 4-8 with a 3.59 ERA, wouldn’t use his huge contract or the adjustment to a new league or team as an excuse, even though manager Joe Maddon felt the lefty was finally looking more comfortable with the Cubs.

“The game doesn’t change whether you’re pitching in the [American League] or [National League],” Lester said. “Fastball down and away located does the same thing in the American League as it does in the National League.”

The Cubs were shut out on Friday, and scored one run Saturday.

“We’ve seen a lot of good pitching and have hit some balls well that have found leather as opposed to grass,” Maddon said. “We’ve seen good pitching, and that’s it. We are a swing and miss team, that’s part of our DNA now, and they’ve gotten the better of us, but I’m not discouraged in the least.”

— Carrie Muskat

12 Comments

Another Lester Loss. Every time I see that Lester is pitching I chalk up another loss for the Cubs. Very disappointing. Hope he can turn things around but don’t know if he is willing to do what needs to be done to win a few – throw ton1st, etc.

Just to add; Lester 4-8 with an ERA nearing 4! This has been nothing but the bomb of a signing on Theo’s behalf (which I said it was from the start but got blasted on this blog)…the bomb in not the good way…to this point a very bad deal simply put; not just due to his record but inability or unwillingness to play the fundamentals.

You do know Lester has ALWAYS had an era of around 3.50, right? Look at his past seasons from 2008 until now. Last year was his first year with a sub 2.99 ERA (2.40). The guy has always been a “solid pitcher” never a true ace and NOT a 160 mil pitcher!
I’m a white Sox fan, and this isnt against the Cubs but I love watching overpaid pitchers struggle…maybe it’ll send a message to management. Just like we’re dishing out $15 mil a year for John Danks 4.50 ERA.

I have no sorrow for Lester, I’m just wondering if it’s too late to go back on the signing! Here’s a guy who can’t hit even for a pitcher, can’t throw over to a base in order to keep runner’s honest, never backs up a play at home, just camps at the mound feeling sorry for himself and to me, looks to be a bit overweight. For the most part, the only teams he has defeated are poor or slumping teams to this point and when one is considered the ace you are going to go up against the opponents ace which means your club is going to score low most of the time. Someone needs to sit him down and instruct him to start playing the fundamentals like everyone else and stop acting like a cry baby on the mound or he can look to a reliever role for a while…yes, he is not too special for the same others would face. His demeanor at play is not helping him with the rest of the team and their production as if I notice these things, so do they. Luckily I have a Rizzo shirt to replace the Lester one I purchased!

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I’m not going to put this all on Lester because the Cubs offense has been HORRIBLE when Lester starts.

Three runs scored by the Cubs in Lester’s last six starts???!!! No pitcher, not past or present, is going to have a good record with that sort of run support.

Lester has 12 “quality starts ” this year. If he’s putting up quality starts and not winning, obviously is not his fault. Cubs just need to start hitting the ball and having mature at bats. No more of this first and third with one or less outs and getting no runs. Any team should be able to squeak out a few runs here and there in that situation. But our youngsters are trying to crush the ball instead of taking something off and putting the ball in play

Aloha Erik- Yes, the batters need to approach their AB (at-bats) very differently then what they have been doing. It was neat to see Rizzo so many games ago with two strikes on him, man on 3rd and 1st, with one out, shorten up on his bat and place a fly ball to center field that brought in the run (sac-fly). There has been so many of these situations and no production. I have been critical of Lester in a constructive way, in that he needs to work on his move to 1st and keep runners in check. He is a power pitcher but has other items in his arsenal that can him setup his pitches-pitch selection. Yes, he needs to bunt as well. Having said that, Omar above makes a good point that in Lester’s career, he floated around a 3.5era before last year where he was below 3.0 (2.46). So, I am sure that the FO took into account that he may give up so many runs but probably thought that by now the team would be producing so many runs per game. The injuries have not helped out, then you have Fowler where you thought his offense would not be as suspect as his defense but right now it is flipped around. Castro is hurting. The young guys (ie: Bryant, Russell & Soler) are all going through growing pains and you also have La Stella on the DL too. A lot of what ifs. Some of us here had speculated what it might be like if Olt were starting at 3rd and hitting for decent average because he has power, that when Bryant would have been brought up he most likely would be in the outfield. That did not happen because of Olt’s injury. I am sure Lester is frustrated just like everyone else, this break is coming at the right time. Hopefully they can pick up tomorrow’s game and end the home-stand .500 and prepare for the next half. Take care. Mahalo.

Have held off as far as posting as of late,a loss is still a loss,this was not the year for a championship run as real Cubs fans knew.That being said,Lester was signed to be the anchor in a Cubs staff still searching for there own Identity,that has not happened,a previous post about some of the other Cubs not holding there own presented some other thoughts,they seem to not get it together,some questions about the coaching staff might start to arise,not Maddon,hitting instructors mentioned here,hopefully this is a dry run, Maddon has been known to bring the team together for the playoff runs,still have high hopes for this team,but the soxx,the southsiders,please,anyhow shout out to the local 11&12 year old youth team who will be playing for a berth to go to Williamsport this year,the same group that came one victory short last year,Wilson N.C. kids enjoy the ride and I hope Cub fans support you and all other kids playing youth sports. Peace and Go Cubs!

You make some reasoned and thoughtful observations about the Cubs and this season`s expectations, KenlyCub. I`m one of those fans who has been been guilty of excess optimism, I confess. I`ll be pulling for that Wilson club to reach the 2015 Little League WS. You know I always pay attention to the teams at Williamsport. A player who excelled there in the late 90`s, and whom I was fortunate to see perform, will be starting at third base for the NL All Stars this coming Tuesday. (Todd Frazier) Saw him play in the Eastern Regional in Bristol, Ct. that same season leading to Williamsport. Believe it was 1998, but please don`t quote me.

every hitter on the cubs need to understand that you do not have to want to kill the baseball on every swing but started to look for a speical pitch in a localtion and than try to kill it but put a good level swing on other pitches

Many good comments here but I think fails to address the main issues raised. Lester’s lack of playing the fundamentals (base throwing, never covers home, can’t even bunt, etc.) along with his constant poor demeanor on the mound will influence the teams play behind him. Ace’s go against ace’s resulting in low scoring and no team is going to score 4 runs against opponents ace’s on a regular basis…pretty simple stuff. In addition, the quality start issue just means he was out pitched by the opponents ace especially with an ERA near 4…period. I would say a $155M is a steep price for an anchor that can’t even play the fundamentals so I understand the attempt to have his back but I think it is unfounded to this point, he has not gotten it done. I believe not only does he look a bit overweight but think he came into the season start in poor condition, reason for the so called dead arm. Please, few teams are so constructed from the season’s start that all is in place to ensure a top level team, most just gel and play/coached well and get it done so this notion of over expectation is over quoted in my opinion…so when exactly will we know it’s time to start holding Theo accountable and stop with this 5 year non-sense everybody likes to hold on to? With all due respect, can anyone address these comments and not hitters trying to kill the ball and Lester’s historic numbers, etc.?

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