Lester, May Our Troubles Seem So Far Away

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I’ve been a bit hard on Jon Lester this season, but it wasn’t unwarranted.  He’s had some trouble with the longball (12.2% HR/FB), can’t hold on runners if his life depended on it, and sported a middling 3.44 FIP.  I may be on the path of forgiveness, however, as after last night’s start of 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks, Lester has now thrown 1 ER ball or fewer in four of his last five starts.  I don’t think the Ks are all too real as he only collected at least seven strikeouts on 5 occasions outside of this start, but he seems to be finding his groove as the Cubs define themselves as major players for a postseason birth.  I wouldn’t be buying low, but don’t go selling him for yesterday’s newspaper.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Jonathon Niese – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Niese had luck on his side and will be making a sacrifice to the BABIP Gods later tonight on Public Access.  You can’t miss it!

Chris Sale – 9.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks.  His incredible double-digit K streak has come to an end when Sale finally goes the complete game.  Seeing a 6.00 K/9 from Sale is just icky, but whatevs, aces gonna ace.

James Shields – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Shields needed a solid ERA/WHIP night, but man, remember when he had a K/9 above 12?  That was craaazzzyy.

Chris Heston – 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s tough to be super pumped with a 2/4 K per BB, but hey here it is.  Cheering for his ERA/WHIP after getting only two Ks is like cheering after USA scored their fourth goal from mid-field.  All the excitement was gone at that point.

John Lackey – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Lackey is doing his thing: being better than good but never great.

A.J. Burnett – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Would have been better if the ump didn’t blow a strikeout call on a “foul-tip” that wasn’t even close.  I’m this mad and I don’t even own Burnett.  WHY CAN’T WE REVIEW FOUL TIPS.  I’m serious, why is there such a limit on what we can and cannot challenge?  If we can definitively tell by replay that a call on the field was good or bad, then why wouldn’t umps want to get it right?  Balls and strikes not included (duh), but a foul tip is, well, different.  You know, like how you were in middle school.  Don’t lie.

Wei-Yin Chen – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. He was our Call Boy who did well.  A 1.00 WHIP, under 3.00 ERA and a handful of Ks.  That’s the life of a streamer.

Mark Buehrle – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks.  The Burly Buehrle did his thing by eating innings and striking out few.  Just how it goes.

Anthony DeSclafani – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks.  Tony, stop dancing man.  NAH DUDE, I LOVE THIS SONG.  That’s the ice-cream truck, it’s 10am. MY FAVORITE.

Doug Fister – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. I’m so happy I sacrificed a good WHIP and nibbled on two strikeouts for that low ERA.  Yaaaaayyyyyy.

Dallas Keuchel – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks.  Don’t forget this when you hear people calling Keuchel Top 10 material.  Sure, he gave you some Ks, but that 4.50 ERA and 1.67 WHIP are not what you want from Dallas.

Phil Hughes – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. If your league has a BB/9 stat, add Hughes to get your Phil.  Otherwise, dump him like you would me if I made that joke in your presence.

Matt Wisler – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Yeah, this is what I expect more or less from Matty Wise.  He’s not a guy you go out to the store to get, but you’ll drink if it’s there.

Yimi Garcia – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks.  ‘Twas a bullpen game.  You know, like pretty much every little league game.

Alfredo Simon – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. The Mariners ate him up like a bowl of…Penne Vodka?  Pesto Linguine?  Mom’s Speghetti?  Dang, I feel like there’s something here but I just can’t find it.

Kyle Lohse – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The LoKer TOCAL is getting kinda lopsided…step it up Kershaw!  Lohse can’t stop being bad.

Sean O’Sullivan – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks.  His ERA/FIP/xFIP are all above 5.00, and now allowed 6 ER in three straight starts.  I wonder if DFS leagues feast on O’Sullivan each time he heads out there.

Carlos Carrasco – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks.  I almost led with Carlos as I think I’ve hit the moment where I need to drop him out of the Top 20.  His peripherals say differently, but man he just can’t consistently put up elite numbers.  I’m leaning to the idea that he simply is too sporadic when it comes to location as opposed to pure luck, as he has a 31.2% hard contact rate.  Do I still consider Carlos someone I want on my teams?  Absolutely, but I’m starting to believe he won’t be a Top 20 guy for the 2nd half.  And that makes me sad.

Hisashi Iwakuma – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks.  I have a rule that unless guys are Top 15 material (i.e. Sale or Fernandez), I will not start a guy on his day back from an extended DL trip.  Especially not against the Tigers.  Often times pitchers are over amped for the start or still need to make an adjustment or two.  Now that Iwakuma got it out of his system, feel free to pick him up off the wire for his outing against the Angels.

Today’s Streamers

Brett Anderson vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Um yes please.  One of the easier streamer picks so far.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Mike Fiers vs. Atlanta Braves – Can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the streaming options, but you gotta go with Fiers and his ability to strikeout batters.  He’s owned in under 25% of ESPN Leagues, making him a wildly available guy to go with on Wednesday.

Game of the Day

Max Scherzer vs. Johnny Cueto – Two top guys square off.  Who doesn’t want to see that?

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Nick Pollack

Founder
Founder of both PitcherList.com and PitcherGIFs.com. Washington Post contributor and has worked with CBS Sports, Grantland, and SB Nation. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum.