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Cubs Pitcher Jon Lester Could Set Infamous Hitting Record
The Chicago Cubs signed Jon Lester to a $155 million contract as a free agent this offseason. They did that without a second thought about Lester hitting now that he's in the National League. Good thing because by the end of Friday night, Lester could set a Major League Baseball record for the worst hitting star to a big-league career. His Cubs open a three-game series in Arizona as -129 favorites with a total of 8.5 and the under a -120 favorite.
Joey Hamilton Is Waiting!
Lester is 0-for-54 as a major-league hitter with 32 strikeouts. He's drawn one walk and has one RBI (on a sacrifice fly). The major-league record for most at-bats to begin a career without a hit is 57. It was set by Padres starting pitcher Joey Hamilton in 1994 and 1995. Hamilton's first hit came June 9, 1995 -- a double, of all things. Hamilton actually hit, a little bit, for his career. Overall he hit .127 in 339 at-bats with four home runs, not awful for a pitcher.
Before Hamilton, the record-holder for most at-bats to start a career without a hit was a Giants pitcher named Ron Herbel, who played in the 1960s. Herbel began 0-for-55, got a hit (a single in the Astrodome), then went 0-for-his-next-52, which means at that point his batting average was .009 (1-for-108). Herbel wound up hitting .029 for his career -- 6-for-206 with 125 strikeouts.
The most at-bats without a hit to start a career by a position player is 35, by Vic Harris of the Rangers in 1972. The most at-bats in a completed career without a hit is 41, by a Mets pitcher named Randy Tate, who played in 1975. The most at-bats in a completed career without a hit by a position player is 23, set by Mike Potter of the Cardinals in 1976 and 1977, tied by Larry Littleton of the Indians in 1981.
As for pitching. After going 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in four April starts, Lester is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts this month. In his last outing, he held the Pirates to one run over seven innings. This will be his first start ever at Arizona's Chase Field. Last time out, Lester dominated the Pirates, holding them to a run and nine hits over seven innings. He has seen a few Arizona batters. Paul Goldschmidt is 1-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs off him. Aaron Hill is 4-for-35 with two doubles and an RBI. Mark Trumbo is 3-for-9 with a homer, two RBIs and four strikeouts.
Arizona starts right-hander Josh Collmenter (3-5, 5.36). Collmenter lost his second straight, giving up four runs on six hits with two walks and just one strikeout over six innings against the Phillies. Over his past two outings, he has walked more batters than he has fanned. Dexter Fowler has faced him more than any other Cub, going 5-for-21 with a homer and an RBI. Anthony Rizzo is 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs.
Key Betting Trends
Cubs are 3-7 in their last 10 games as a road favorite.
Cubs are 2-5 in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a losing record.
Cubs are 4-0 in Lesters last 4 starts during game 1 of a series.
Diamondbacks are 1-5 in Collmenters last 6 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
Diamondbacks are 1-6 in Collmenters last 7 home starts.
Diamondbacks are 0-7 in Collmenters last 7 starts as a home underdog.
Diamondbacks are 0-6 in Collmenters last 6 starts as a home underdog of +110 to +150.
Over is 5-1 in Collmenters last 6 starts as an underdog of +110 to +150.
Over is 4-1 in Collmenters last 5 home starts.
Under is 12-3-1 in Collmenters last 16 starts vs. National League Central.
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