Starting pitcher Jon Lester of the Chicago Cubs has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending June 12th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Lester was tied for the Major League lead in wins last week, going 2-0 over two starts, without yielding an earned run over 15.0 innings pitched. Among qualified NL hurlers, Jon paced the Senior Circuit in innings pitched, and tied for first in ERA and strikeouts (16). The veteran left-hander permitted just nine hits and did not surrender a walk during his award-winning week. This is his third career weekly award, last winning as a member of the Oakland Athletics on September 14, 2014.
On Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, the Washington native tossed 8.0 shutout innings, while walking none and striking out nine en route to his seventh win of the season. After striking out 10 and not allowing a walk in his previous start (a complete game on June 1st against the Los Angeles Dodgers), Lester became the first Cubs lefty since at least 1913 to walk none and fan at least nine in consecutive starts. Just three other Cubs pitchers since 1913 have had consecutive outings meet that criteria: Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins in 1971, Jon Lieber in 1999 and Rich Harden in 2008. In Sunday's 13-2 win over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, Lester went 7.0 innings without allowing an earned run, while striking out seven and not permitting a walk. The outing marked his third consecutive start without issuing a free pass, encompassing a career-best 24.2 innings pitched. With his current ERA set at 1.89 and teammate Jake Arrieta at 1.86, the Cubs are the first team to employ two starters with ERAs below 2.00 this late in the season since the 1981 Houston Astros (Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and Bob Knepper) and 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers (Hall of Famer Don Sutton and Andy Messersmith), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. With yesterday's win, the Cubs became the first team since the recordsetting 2001 Seattle Mariners to win at least 43 of their first 61 games.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Danny Espinosa (.429, 3 HR, 20 TB, .952 SLG) and Jayson Werth (.500, 5 R, 8 RBI, .625 OBP) of the Washington Nationals; DJ LeMahieu (.423, 11 H, 4 2B, 20 TB) of the Colorado Rockies; Martin Prado (.480, 12 H, 4 XBH, .536 OBP) of the Miami Marlins; Wil Myers (.333, 7 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI) of the San Diego Padres; and Zach Davies (2-0, 1.38 ERA, 13.0 IP, 12 SO) of the Milwaukee Brewers.
In recognition of his National League Player of the Week Award, Jon Lester will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.