"Obviously, it wasn't great," Lester said. "Something is off. Something does not feel right over the last two starts. The results kind of speak for themselves.
"Everything feels off. Even standing on the mound didn't feel right. We will figure it out. I have been here before. I am just not making good pitches."
In a loss in Washington last Saturday, Lester went just 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs, all earned, on 10 hits and a walk. Is there reason for long-term concern?
"When you are out there, it seems like a big deal," Lester said. "When you look at it later, you see you might be a hair off. Sometimes you can beat your head against the wall looking for big things, and it can end up being pretty small. I have to figure out its some simple things and go from there."
With Lester's short outing Thursday coming a day after left-hander Cole Hamels went just four innings, manager Joe Maddon's bullpen may be a little short when the Cubs start a three-game series against the Reds at home Friday afternoon.
"The bullpen has been in good shape," Maddon said. "Today may nix a few guys going into tomorrow. I don't know who will be available. I really thought there was a chance to win the game based on the elements (wind blowing out)."
Lester had posted a 1.16 ERA in his first seven starts before his recent struggles.
"Back to the drawing board tomorrow," Lester said. "The next day, I will have a side and try to get back to the basics. I just need to look for the simple things instead of worrying about the big picture."