PITTSBURGH -- Jon Lester hasn't been at his best during the month of April in the past, so the left-hander isn't too concerned that he has yet to win in his first three starts with the Cubs.
In his career, Lester is 13-15 with a 4.04 ERA in the first month of the season. This year, he's 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA in three games, and the southpaw will make his fourth start on Friday against the Reds. It will be a rematch of his April 13 game when he gave up six runs on 10 hits over six innings.
"I think the only good April I've ever had was last year," Lester said of a 2-4 start with the Red Sox last season in which he gave up 14 earned runs over 40 2/3 innings. "I'm usually not a fast starter. Usually I guess it's maybe mid-May, June where you get into that rhythm of every five days and arm strength has built up and it's started to warm up and everything falls into place."
When he's in a groove, Lester said it feels as if you're pitching every second day, not every fifth.
Is he a little frustrated? After all, Lester signed a huge contract with the Cubs. The lefty says no. He wants to finish strong.
"That's what you play for at the end of the year," Lester said. "Obviously everybody wants to get off to a good start. I've always been kind of a slow starter for whatever reason."
Lester missed a start in Spring Training because of a tired arm, but he says that's in the past. He's healthy and on schedule.
"The biggest thing was pushing the extra start back and getting those pitches," he said. "As far as physically, it didn't alter anything."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.