Lester (4-2) was a tough-luck loser Wednesday against the Indians, as he allowed just a single run over seven innings of work. He gave up six hits and a walk while striking out four. Lester was good in this one, but he surprisingly got outdueled by Adam Plutko in a 1-0 defeat as the Cubs mustered just three hits as a team. Despite the loss, the 34-year-old lefty will carry a very strong 2.37 ERA into his next start, which is scheduled for Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Lester (4-1) picked up the win over the Reds on Friday, allowing one run on two hits and a walk over six innings while striking out eight. The Cubs spotted the veteran left-hander a three-run lead before he even took the mound, and Lester cruised from there, throwing 64 of 99 pitches for strikes while generating 16 swinging strikes. He'll take a 2.52 ERA and 44:21 K:BB through 50 innings into his next outing Wednesday at home against Cleveland.
Lester had his Thursday start against the Braves postponed due to inclement weather. No makeup date has yet been announced, but since the two clubs didn't even step on the field, the Cubs have already announced Lester as their Friday starter against the Reds, according to the league web site.
Lester improved to 3-1 on the season Saturday against the White Sox, lasting 5.2 innings and allowing just one run on four hits and three walks while striking out five batters. Lester cruised through the first five innings, allowing just four baserunners, but was removed after getting into a bit of trouble in the sixth. The strong start brought his ERA down to 2.66 on the year, though the underlying stats paint a worrisome picture. His FIP sits at 4.57, and neither his 7.36 K/9 nor his 4.09 BB/9 are very encouraging. His low ERA can be attributed in part to a .266 BABIP and a 81.5 percent strand rate. His next start should come Thursday in Atlanta.
Lester allowed two runs on six hits and four walks across 5.1 innings in a no-decision Sunday against the Cardinals. He struck out four. Lester allowed a consistent flow of baserunners on the evening, but he limited the damage to a solo home run from Jedd Gyorko and an RBI triple from Kolten Wong. He battled through a pair of rain delays, which perhaps contributed to his removal after 87 pitches, and the game ended up lasting 14 innings overall. The veteran has posted a solid 2.82 ERA through seven starts, but his 1.33 WHIP suggests that things could go south if he doesn't begin to rein in the baserunners. He's next scheduled to face the White Sox this weekend.