Rick Sutcliffe: No doubt in my mind Cubs will make playoffs

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Rick Sutcliffe | AP Photo

Former Cubs pitcher turned MLB analyst Rick Sutcliffe has no doubt the North Siders will make the postseason this year.

Interviewed by ESPN on Thursday, Sutcliffe pointed to Jon Lester as the reason to have confidence in the Cubs down the stretch.

“There’s no question in my mind that the Cubs are gonna be in the playoffs,” Sutcliffe said. “When we had to make our predictions back in January, I felt that way then because I’m in spring training with them every day. I see the young kids, I know what’s been coming through that system. And I really think the good news for Joe Maddon’s team right now is Jon Lester. He’s 4-8, he hasn’t won since May, but he’s not been horrible. This is one guy who in his whole life has had one losing year. I don’t think this will be one. He’s one of the better performers in baseball in the second half.”

Lester’s numbers don’t actually show a particularly noteworthy improvement in the second half:

First half: 155 starts, 66-43, 3.55 ERA, 8.4 K/9, .249 BAA

Second half: 115 starts, 54-32, 3.62, 8.1 K/9, .249 BAA

Those career splits aside, Lester can probably expect some of the losses and no decisions of the last two months to turn into wins down the stretch. Six of his last 10 starts since the winless streak have been quality starts.

The Cubs, it should be noted, would be in the playoffs via a wild card berth if the season ended today.

Sutcliffe played eight seasons with the Cubs from 1984-91 and was a two-time All-Star.

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