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Mets playoffs: Mets should be aggressive on basepaths in Game 1

Jon Lester isn't good at holding runners on.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

For Game 1 of the NLCS, the Cubs have tabbed Jon Lester as their starter. Lester has been a very good starting pitcher throughout his career and signed a massive free agent contract with Chicago last offseason. But he has displayed a weakness in controlling the running game, and the Mets should look to take advantage of it.

Ben Lindbergh wrote at length about Lester's struggles with baserunners earlier this season for Grantland. Lester rarely throws to first base, and when he does, the throws are not particularly good. Looking at his results this season, Lester allowed 44 stolen bases in 55 attempts. For comparison, the Mets starting pitcher with the most stolen base attempts against this season was Noah Syndergaard with just 16, albeit in 55 fewer innings.

On paper, this seems like a good matchup for Lester. The Mets finished 29th in Major League Baseball with just 51 stolen bases, but that does not mean they are without capable runners. Even if the Mets don't actually steal bases, they could still attempt to distract Lester from pitching to the batter by taking aggressive leads.