The season of firsts continues for Jon Lester. He already collected his first career hit, and tonight he successfully picked off a runner for the first time in over four years, since he nailed Ben Revere on August 10, 2011.
Back in April, the Cubs were miffed that the lamestream media had the temerity to report on and ask questions about Lester’s seeming refusal to throw to first base. The next game he made his first pickoff attempt in two years—seriously, he hadn’t tossed the ball to first in two years—and promptly airmailed it.
With the word out that Lester could barely hold runners on, the rest of the season didn’t go much better. According to Sporting Charts, Lester has allowed 42 stolen bases this season, by far the most in the majors (and the most allowed in a single season since Sporting Charts began tracking back in 2009).
Which brings us to tonight. Tonight, Jon Lester tasted sweet, sweet victory when Starling Marte just brazenly started running as Lester stared at him:
Now to be fair, Lester doesn’t just stand on the mound refusing to throw to first base. He pitches the ball towards home plate as well, and is quite good at it! Tonight, for instance, he threw nine strikeouts in a complete game, scattering just five hits. After beginning the season poorly, in his past 16 starts Lester has a “2.97 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 106 strikeouts against 23 walks in 103 innings,” according to CBS Sports.
And if he can pitch this well for the Cubbies in the playoffs (which I am so sure that they’re going to make that I’m not even going to bother with qualifying weasel words), who cares if he can barely throw to first?