Jon Lester was terrible Tuesday night.
The left-hander surrendered 11 runs (9 earned) — his most in a start since 2012 — over just four innings as the Chicago Cubs fell to the Oakland Athletics 11-4 at Wrigley Field.
After the game, Lester held himself accountable, refusing to mince words regarding his awful performance.
“What happened is I gave up 11 runs, so it doesn’t matter how I feel,” Lester told reporters in Chicago. “Doesn’t matter about a game plan, doesn’t matter about executing pitches, doesn’t matter about anything. I gave up 11 runs, so it really doesn’t matter.”
The A’s delivered a haymaker in the second inning by scoring eight runs. They piled on with three more runs in the fourth inning, ultimately battering Lester for 10 hits on the night, including two home runs.
“I feel like they had a better plan than I did,” Lester said. “Plain and simple. They executed their plan and before we could make the adjustment there’s eight runs up there.”
The nine earned runs were the most allowed by Lester since he surrendered 11 earned runs in a start for the Boston Red Sox against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 22, 2012. The 35-year-old now owns a 4.46 ERA over 22 starts this season, which coincidentally would represent his worst ERA since posting a 4.82 mark during that 2012 campaign, known in Boston as the infamous Bobby Valentine era.
Lester’s last two starts have been particularly bad. The Cubs remain in first place in the National League East, but Chicago’s bullpen is dealing with injuries, putting added pressure on the rotation to hold up to its end of the bargain. And Lester, in the midst of his fifth season with the Cubs, just hasn’t been good enough.
“When it comes down to it, the injuries are the injuries, but I’m pretty much the weakest link in the rotation right now and have to figure out a way to right the ship, pick my end up, and do better,” the five-time All-Star said after Tuesday’s stinker. “Flat-out do better.”
Sounds like a good plan.
Thumbnail photo via Jon Durr/USA TODAY Sports Images