If You’re Blaming Jon Lester for the Cubs’ Struggles, You’re Doing it Wrong

Okay, get to a happy place. Don’t rant, don’t rant, don’t rant. Calm down, Evan, everyone expresses their frustrations in a different manner and starting pitcher is an easy target, particularly when he gives up 4 earned runs to what might be the worst offense in baseball. Oh, then there’s the matter of his giant contract. Might as well be a bullseye.

I think my feelings while following the online conversation during this afternoon’s game can best be described by the great Steven Spielberg, who once filmed:

But before you go tossing out any face-meltingly hot opinions on Lester’s ability, consider that even if the Cubs had supported him with the same amount of runs they’ve scored behind him in his last 9 starts, THEY STILL WOULD HAVE LOST. Yes, that’s correct.

Not since his May 22nd start against the D-backs, when the Cubs gave him 2 whole runs, has Lester received more than a single tally to back his efforts. In the 9 games since, Lester’s offense has provided him with 3 runs and has been completely shut out 4 times. Still think Lester’s the problem?

But, Evan, he’s allowed 4, 4, 5, and 6 earned runs in games during that stretch. Yes, that is true. He’s also had three games in which he allowed only 1 earned run and two in which he’s allowed none.

Listen, it’s totally acceptable to be upset about this team playing like a landfill explosion over the past couple games against their city-mates to the south. I know it sucks to see that awesome silver cup slip through your greasy little fingers; I hate it too. I hate going to see my baby niece and having my brother in law maintain bragging rights.

But if you’re laying blame at Jon Lester’s feet, you’re doing it wrong. Not only will he simply step over the pile of doody and into the cab of his giant custom F-250, but you’ll be left unsatisfied and probably in need of a good hand-washing. This isn’t Old Man Clemens we’re talking about here.

While I believe it’s generally futile to get all that worked up at all, I do feel it’s your God-given right to gripe about your baseball team. Even if that team has outperformed expectations and isn’t really built to succeed in a big way this year, you can and should get mad when they soil the bed as they have these past two games.

Maybe Lester’s less-than-stellar performance early in games could result in this struggling team pressing even more and psyching themselves out. But wouldn’t the same then be true of those great starts in which he’s been lights-out? This team simply needs to score more runs, period.

Even Max Sherzer would have a mediocre record with this team full of Swiss cheese bats swinging behind him. Not that Lester has been at Max effort, mind you, just trying to put that out there. When you are supposed to be the ace of the staff, it’s incumbent upon you to be the guy leading the way. In that, the lefty has been less than great.

So by all means, hammer away at the Cubs when they perform this way as a team. But when it comes to Lester in a situation like this, please shorten your streams. I don’t want my face burned off.


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