By Bruce Levine–
MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) — As MLB appears to be nearing the implementation of pace-of-play rules to speed up the game, Cubs left-hander Jon Lester isn’t pleased.
To say the least, he doesn’t want mound visits limited of a pitch clock instituted.
“That is a terrible idea,” Lester said. “The beautiful thing about our sport is there is no time. The fans know what they are getting themselves into when they go to a game. It is going to be three hours. You may have a game in two hours, you might have one that goes four hours. I get the mound visit thing. There are so much technology and cameras on the field that every stadium has a camera on the catcher’s crotch. So they know signs before you even get there. Now we have Apple watches. There are reasons behind the mound visits. The catcher isn’t asking what time I am going to dinner. If you take those away, you take away the beauty of the baseball game. Every game has a flow. If you want to go to a timed game, go to a timed game. I just think we are missing something somewhere.”
While expressing his displeasure, Lester knows he can’t control the rules that are instituted this season. What he’s focused on is regaining his top form after what was a bumpier 2017 season in which he went 13-8 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.32 WHIP.
A 12-year big league veteran who’s been a model of durability, Lester hit the disabled list last August with what the team initially called a left shoulder problem. Soon, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein shed more light on the situation, explaining that Lester was just entirely worn down.
Lester still made 32 starts and then approached his offseason in a similar manner. After all, he’s made at least 31 starts in 10 straight seasons, so he doesn’t need to change much.
“He is focused coming in here,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He was not satisfied with what he did last year .He is ready to do something about it. I am really eager to watch him play.”
Lester was “excited” by the Cubs’ signing of Yu Darvish, who will replace Jake Arrieta in the rotation as a frontline starter. Lester is expected to lead what some believe is the best rotation in the game.
“Everyone looks good on paper,” Lester said. “The computer printouts are great as to what they project you to do. You still have to show up and pitch. We have to do our job. I think we put a lot of stress on our bullpen early in the season last year with not pitching deep into a game and not doing our jobs. That is an improvement we have to make. We have to make sure the pen doesn’t have to come in all the time in the fifth or sixth inning. I am excited about it. We have a good group. Hopefully, we get going early and get on a good roll.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.