Chicago Cubs jump all over Jon Lester in return to Wrigley Field

Chicago Cubs (Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Cubs (Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

It was an emotional night at Wrigley Field on Monday night. After spending six years with the organization and helping the team win their first World Series since 1908, Jon Lester faced the Chicago Cubs for the first time as a member of the Washington Nationals.

It was interesting to see the Chicago Cubs face Jon Lester for the first time since his departure.

Lester, 37, is arguably the best free-agent signing in franchise history. He finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting in 2016 and earned his fourth All-Star selection in the process. In Game 7 of the World Series, Lester gave the Cubs three vital innings in a relief role.

After all the history between the player and the club, it was weird seeing Lester donned in a Nationals uniform, knowing he’s still good friends with several players on the roster.

“That’s going to be the hard part is separating, I’m sure they’ll be some smiles and laughter out there, but separate the friendships,” Lester said prior to his start on Monday. “Once you step between the lines, I’m trying to win the game. It’s go-time. If I gotta hit you, I gotta hit you.”

The Cubs led off the game with back-to-back singles, with Willson Contreras advancing to third base on Kris Bryant’s base knock. Anthony Rizzo followed with a sacrifice fly, plating the game’s first run. Moving to the second inning, Jason Heyward smashed an opposite-field two-run home run, giving the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

Heyward had three RBI’s on the night, and he’s starting to heat up over the last three games, going 4-for-12 with three RBI’s and a walk.

“I think J-Hey has been for a few days now, especially that road trip after Cleveland, he’s starting to find his timing,” David Ross said following the Cubs 7-3 win. “He hit the ball hard and stayed on a tough lefty in Jon [Lester]. That was a nice swing.”

Lester went 5.1 innings and allowed five earned runs, including a solo blast from Contreras in the third inning. The crowd was great for the big lefty all night, giving him a standing ovation when he took the mound to start the game and when he was pulled in the sixth inning.

Of course, Kyle Schwarber also made his Wrigley Field return on Monday. The former Cubs left fielder smashed an opposite-field two-run shot in the fourth inning, bringing the Nationals within one, but the Cubs plated the game’s final three runs, including a solo blast from Javier Baez.

Trending. 3 standout performances in series win over Tigers. light

“It was awesome – it was nice,” Lester said following the game. “It was a great atmosphere here. Seeing those faces again was great. But you have to toe that fine line of trying to enjoy the moment and trying to compete and trying to win.”