With Major League Baseball’s playoffs just days away, the first 100-win season since 1935 doesn’t mean a thing for Chicago Cubs starter Jon Lester

On Saturday, the All-Star left-hander who is tied for the National League lead with 19 wins, made his intentions clear as the calendar flipped to October, via Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com: “This season isn’t anything unless we do what we showed up at spring training to do—win a World Series. I don’t want to sound like an a–hole or anything, but we really haven’t done anything yet.”

It’s been 108 years since the Cubs won their last World Series, which was the second in franchise history, and while Lester is downplaying his team’s accomplishments, 100-win seasons don’t come around too often in the team’s 141-year history. 

In fact, it’s only happened only six times, including this season:

For Lester, though, the shift to October means that it’s a clean slate, but it’s imperative that his Cubs carry over their regular-season success into the playoffs:

This is the real season now. You play 162 to get to now. … It’s go time. Now we have to live up to the expectations and hype. … The big thing with this team is we’re consistent. We show up every day to play. That’s huge, especially with the young group that we have. That’s hard to do. That’s a hard thing to learn at a young age. These guys do it.

At 32, Lester is an elder statesman on a Cubs team that is riddled with young talent ranging from National League MVP candidate and 24-year-old third baseman Kris Bryant to 22-year-old starting shortstop Addison Russell. 

That youth has brought a swagger of sorts to a downtrodden organization as the Cubs rank third in the MLB in runs, first in team ERA and most importantly, first in wins. 

Lester has done his part to contribute to that team ERA, posting a 2.44 that ranks second in the majors. It’s 0.45 points higher than his Cubs teammate, 26-year-old and league-leader Kyle Hendricks’ 1.99 mark. 

According to Rogers, Lester is slated to pitch Game 1 of the NLDS where the Cubs will meet the winner of the National League Wild Card Game whether it be the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants or St. Louis Cardinals

His veteran presence is sure to be one of the most valued in the clubhouse too as he won a pair of World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2007 and 2013. 

Given the Cubs’ past though, it’s understandable why fans could be entering the postseason as cautiously optimistic supporters. The last time the Cubs even competed in a World Series was 1945, and the following seven decades have been filled with collapses and playoff heartbreak. 

But given the makeup of this team and the way they barnstormed through the league this season, the Cubs have a great chance to end baseball’s longest, most torturous drought this season. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

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