So if you’re Tommy Pham and the St. Louis Cardinals, do you test Jon Lester or not?
That’s one of the questions at hand as the two teams open up their series tonight with the veteran left-hander on the mound. It’s been well-documented that he has issues throwing the ball to first base. Yet, earlier this season Lester did fight through the issue and pick a pair of Cardinals off–including Pham.
“Yeah, that’s something I just looked at on video,” said Pham, who has been successful on 23 of 30 stolen base attempts this season. “You’re going to get a bigger lead in general, I just don’t know if it’s going to be as big as last time. It’s tough. It’s very tempting with him.”
Adding to the temptation is the fact Tampa stole three bases off Lester in his last outing.
“I don’t know what to make of it,” said Pham. “You don’t want to get out in this game, but then when you see an edge like that–that can help the team, help the team score runs, it’s tempting. I would have to see how the game goes to see if I’m going to test those limits. If I see a situation where I think he might be rattled or something like that, maybe it might be a good opportunity. But you just have to really see how the game evolves.
The Cardinals did not attempt any steals in their last game against Lester and the Cubs on July 22nd. They have been safe on four of six attempts this season.
“There’s a lot of factors–the score, I have Dex hitting behind me,” added Pham. “It’s tempting right now, I’m going to have to think about this and do some more discussion.”
This will be the fifth start this season for Lester against the Cardinals. Overall, runners have been safe on 19/30 attempts this year.
RESPONSE TO ZOBRIST
Earlier in the afternoon, it was brought to Pham’s attention that Chicago Cub Ben Zobrist had shared his team intended to clinch the NL Central in this series and that winning in St. Louis would bring extra satisfaction for some of his teammates.
“Better not ask me how I’m doing on the field,” responded Pham. “I don’t want to be his friend now. You know, you say you’re going to come here and pop bottles.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry, Dennis Wierzbicki, Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports