Sometimes Jon Lester surprises me. He really does. Yesterday, he picked up his first home run ever.
I mean ever. Yeah. Really, really really ever.
The Cubs destroyed the Colorado Rockies 10-0. It just wasn’t a single shot but a two run kazinger over the wall in the fourth inning. Not known to be a hitting pitcher, Lester just proved another point about these Chicago Cubs;
They’re an offensive threat no matter where they are at the plate.
“You’re coming in and trying to figure out how far from the plate you’re supposed to stand and how you’re supposed to load and how you’re supposed to swing,” he said. “This year I have a better idea of what I’m trying to do. Just the comfort level of being in a batter’s box and seeing live pitching — that’s the hardest part. These guys all throw 94, 95 [mph] plus. It’s a big shock when you don’t see it all the time.”
But the fun doesn’t end there because it was his buddy, David Ross who wanted in on the fun, the retiring “Grandpa” of the group received three doubles and three RBI’s. Two players not known for their hitting and power practically carrying the team on their backs.
Now, my wife might say who cares about spring training, but these little moral victories are confidence builders especially since the regular season starts next week.
“I try not to read too much into Spring Training, whether it’s good or bad,” Lester said. “I would’ve liked to have gotten a couple more innings, but we had some long innings today and that’s why they pulled me a little early. That’s my big thing is making my starts and getting my innings — that’s all I really care about,” he said. “The runs and all that stuff, I try not to pay attention to that [in spring]. The big thing for me is not a lot of walks, which is good. It means I’m staying in the zone consistently and getting early contact.”
It’s practice Jon, but who knows where this might lead? Perhaps a batting title?
That was a joke Cubs fans.
What isn’t a joke is Manager Joe Maddon’s realistic approach to the Cubs’ season. We know about the drought. There’s high hopes in Chicago and after last season’s heroics there certainly is a lot of pressure but the players know that it’s a job and this season is no different than any other. The team’s good, the players are relaxed and confident, so now it’s about playing baseball to the best of their abilities.
“We have not won a World Series in a century, so there’s nothing to get complacent or cocky about,” Maddon said. “Bring that all on the table, talk about it, say it up front. That’s why I believe it’s important to embrace the target.”
1908 folks. That’s a long time ago.