With Game 2 postponed, Lester anxious about getting another chance to pitch
Jon Lester's time with the Cubs has been extended at least one day, thanks to the surprising postponement of Game 2 of the Wild Card Series against Miami.
The threat of rain prompted the early postponement Thursday. And it eventually did rain at Wrigley Field, but not until a couple hours after the scheduled start time.
So Game 2 will slide to Friday at 1 p.m. -- unless it's the only game being played on Friday. Then it will shift to a 6 p.m. start. Game 3, if necessary, will be Saturday at a time to be determined.
Meanwhile, Lester was already a little nervous about his situation. He'll start Game 3, if necessary. And it could be his last start for the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
But if the Cubs lose Game 2, that's it. Lester won't get another start at Wrigley this season and maybe not ever.
On Thursday before Game 2 was postponed, the veteran lefty was asked what it's like to watch playoff games when he's not on the mound.
"For me, it's high anxiety," Lester said. "Especially now with all the rule changes on how we can actually watch the game. I move around a lot, try to keep my mind occupied, going back and forth between the dugout and inside, especially when we're pitching.
"I feel like the anxiety level for myself for the other guys is through the roof on that one because I want them to do well. Then we get big situations when guys are on base and the anxiety goes up again.
"I'd rather pitch than sit here and watch. I'd rather be out there in the moment and focused on the game plan and focused on competing and focused on what I'm trying to do than sit here and watch a game."
Lester's future with the Cubs is in limbo. The team holds an option for next season at a $25 million salary, which they're not likely to pick up. The 36-year-old has three World Series rings, two in Boston and one with the Cubs in 2016.
"If this is it there, this is it. I have to move on with it," Lester said. "The organization will definitely move on. You see it over the years, if somebody leaves or goes down, you fill it in with another person.
"I've definitely appreciated everything that this organization has done for me and I hope it's not it. I hope we can figure something out for next year and these conversations are kind of null and void."
The good news for the Cubs is they'll have their best pitcher, Yu Darvish, on the mound for Game 2. Lester described Darvish's style, which includes maybe 10 different pitches and plenty of movement.
"It's cool to watch him go out there and it's almost like an artist," Lester said. "He almost creates a painting every time he pitches. You know like, 'My slider's not working today, so we're going to go with my nasty splitter.' This pitch I invented two weeks ago that we don't have a name for that he throws and makes people look stupid on.
"He's such a unique talent because you don't see guys with the ability to make the ball go both ways with the effectiveness he does all the time. That's a really special gift to have."
Lester finished by thanking reporters on the Zoom call, just in case this was the last time he gets the chance. We won't know until sometime Friday, weather permitting.
"It's been a great six years here," he said. "But I wanted to make sure I did get to say thank you to you guys. It's been a pleasure to play here."