Lester, Sale named Pitchers of the Month for June

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for his efforts in June, and Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for June. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

July 2nd, 2018

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for his efforts in June, and Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for June. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

Lester compiled a perfect 5-0 record with a 1.13 ERA and 20 strikeouts over five starts to earn his sixth career Pitcher of the Month Award, last winning in September 2016. Jon permitted 17 hits, two home runs and 10 free passes across 32.0 innings pitched. Among qualified NL starting pitchers, the left-handed veteran finished tied for first in wins and ERA, and allowed the second-fewest hits. This is Chicago's first NL Pitcher of the Month Award since Jon's former rotation-mate Jake Arrieta, who earned monthly honors last August.

Over the course of his dominant month, Lester tossed three scoreless outings while pitching at least 7.0 innings (June 3rd at New York Mets; June 9th vs. Pittsburgh Pirates; June 20th vs. Los Angeles Dodgers). With three such outings coming within the Cubs' first 75 games of the 2018 season, the four-time All-Star is the first Cubs hurler since Arrieta during his 2016 All-Star campaign to accomplish the feat. Following his victory against the aforementioned Dodgers on June 20th, the Tacoma, Washington native became the first Cubs pitcher to post at least 6.0 innings in seven consecutive outings (May 18th-June 20th) since his rotation-mate Kyle Hendricks did so over a stretch of nine games last season from August 15th-September 23rd. Lester, who earned the win in each of his five starts in June, became the first pitcher in Cubs history, and the fifth in Major League history, to compile a 1.13 ERA-or-lower, five wins and no more than 17 hits allowed across a minimum of 32.0 innings of work in a single calendar month, joining Justin Verlander (September 2017), Matt Moore (April 2013), Doug Fister (September 2011) and Mike Witt (August 1986).

Starting pitcher Zach Eflin (5-0, 1.76 ERA, 30.2 IP, 28 SO) of the Philadelphia Phillies also posted a strong month on the mound. Over the course of his impressive period, the 24-year-old won each of his five starts without allowing more than two earned runs or two walks in any outing. Eflin, the 33rd overall selection by San Diego in the 2012 MLB Draft, became the first Phillies hurler to win five starts in one month since Cole Hamels in May 2012. Others receiving votes for NL Pitcher of the Month included Mike Foltynewicz (1-1, 1.13 ERA, 24.0 IP, 29 SO) of the Atlanta Braves; All-Star Zack Greinke (5-1, 2.97 ERA, 36.1 IP, 36 SO) of the Arizona Diamondbacks; and AllStar Jacob deGrom (6 G, 2.36 ERA, 42.0 IP, 49 SO) of the New York Mets.

Across six starts for the Red Sox, Sale registered a 3-2 record with 60 strikeouts and a 1.76 ERA to claim his third career AL Pitcher of the Month Award, last winning with the Chicago White Sox in June 2015. The left-handed pitcher limited opposing batters to just 22 hits, nine walks and one home run over 41.0 innings pitched. Among qualified AL starting pitchers, Chris finished his dominant month second in strikeouts, tied for second in wins and fifth in ERA. This is Boston's first Pitcher of the Month Award since Sale's rotation-mate Rick Porcello in September during his Cy Young Award-winning 2016 season.

On June 24th against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park, the Lakeland, Florida native tossed 7.0 scoreless innings with 13 punchouts to lead Boston to a 5-0 victory. The outing was his eighth career scoreless start with at least 13 punchouts and four-or-fewer hits. The only other pitchers in MLB history to post more than eight such starts are Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan (17), Randy Johnson (9) and Sandy Koufax (9). In the final start of his awardwinning month against the archrival New York Yankees on Saturday night, Sale tossed 7.0 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts, permitting just a hit and one walk to secure his eighth win of the season. The 29-year-old joined Hideo Nomo (May 25, 2001), Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez (August 29, 2000 and September 10, 1999) and Ray Culp (September 21, 1968) as the only pitchers in Red Sox lore to post such a line. Moreover, the six-time AL All-Star became the second pitcher in franchise history to tally at least 60 strikeouts and allow fewer than 23 hits in a single calendar month, joining Martinez, who totaled 71 strikeouts and 20 hits allowed in September during his Cy Young Award-winning 1999 season. Across the Majors, only seven pitchers have accomplished the feat in Baseball history, and Sale was the first since last year's Cy Young Award recipient Corey Kluber in June 2017.

Others receiving votes for AL Pitcher of the Month included All-Star CC Sabathia (3-2, 1.93 ERA, 32.2 IP, 28 SO) and All-Star Luis Severino (4-1, 1.60 ERA, 33.2 IP, 40 SO) of the Yankees; Tyler Skaggs (3-1, 0.84 ERA, 32.0 IP, 36 SO) of the Los Angeles Angels; Trevor Bauer (3-3, 2.18 ERA, 41.1 IP, 62 SO) and Shane Bieber (3-0, 0.96 ERA, 18.2 IP, 21 SO) of the Cleveland Indians; Blake Snell (3-1, 1.74 ERA, 31.0 IP, 37 SO) of the Tampa Bay Rays; June's Reliever of the Month Edwin Díaz (14 G, 1.88 ERA, 20 SO, 2 BB) of the Mariners; Dylan Bundy (3-0, 1.98 ERA, 27.1 IP, 25 SO) of the Baltimore Orioles; and Sean Manaea (3-0, 2.84 ERA, 31.2 IP, 21 SO) and Blake Treinen (2-0, 0.68 ERA, 8 SV, 16 SO) of the Oakland Athletics.

In recognition of their Pitcher of the Month Awards, Jon Lester and Chris Sale will each receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for their accomplishments.