Cubs News

David Ross reacts to Jon Lester’s milestone: ‘That was special’

3 years agoTony Andracki

By the time his career is over, Jon Lester will be able to fill up multiple rooms of his house with all the trophies and memorabilia racked up over the course of his nearly two decade career.

The former Cubs southpaw recorded another milestone Monday evening, picking up his 200th career victory in a Cardinals uniform. (Lester was traded from Washington D.C. to St. Louis at the deadline in July).

David Ross was Lester’s personal catcher from 2013-16 and the pairing helped institute a winning culture in the Cubs clubhouse after they signed on as free agents prior to the 2015 campaign.

Since the Cubs had an off-day Monday, Ross and some other members of the team were able to watch Lester achieve his milestone against the Milwaukee Brewers.

“I rooted for the red team yesterday and that felt really strange,” Ross said Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field. “I’m really happy for Jon. That was special. A lot of the coaches and the group that’s known him and been around here, everybody’s been following his progression to 200.”

Lester and the Cardinals arrive at Wrigley Field for a four-game series this weekend, so his next start will come against his former team.

“[I was] definitely hoping he got it before he got to here,” Ross said. “I definitely didn’t want that mixed emotion. All the losses stink on my end, but it probably would’ve stunk a little bit worse if he got it here. Now we can really go all in on kicking his butt. I’m very happy for him.”

Lester picked up 77 of those wins in a Cubs uniform, including a league-leading 18 victories in 2018.

Nearly half of Lester’s career victories came while current members of the Cubs were catching — 44 with Ross (2.75 ERA) and 43 with Willson Contreras (3.96 ERA) behind the plate.

Only 2 of Lester’s career wins have come against the Cubs — back in 2011 and 2012 when he pitched with the Red Sox. He faced the Cubs at Wrigley in May with the Nationals and picked up the loss.

He entered 2021 just 7 wins shy of the milestone and went 3-5 in 16 starts with the Nationals. But he’s found another gear with the Cardinals, going 4-1 with a 4.02 ERA in St. Louis.

Lester is in his 16th year in the big leagues and has averaged 15 wins in that span, a notable achievement in a day and age where the pitcher’s win stat has lost its luster with starters no longer going as deep into games.

Houston’s Zack Greinke (219) and Justin Verlander (226) are the only other active pitchers with 200 career wins.

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