An excellent young starter for the Expos for several seasons, Lea was the NL’s starting and winning pitcher in the 1984 All-Star Game, then saw his career ruined by arm problems that forced him to miss the entire 1985 and 1986 seasons. He began the 1980 season at Memphis (Southern League) for the third consecutive year, but after a 9-0, 0.84 start he was in Montreal by mid-season, where he went 7-5. Lea won only five games in the strike-shortened 1981 season, but one of them was a 4-0 no-hitter against the Giants May 10, and in 1982 he cracked double figures in wins for the first time in his pro career, finishing 12-10. In 1983 Lea won a career-high 16 games, and in 1984 he was 15-10, 2.89 to earn his All-Star Game start but was hurt shortly thereafter. He could not pitch at all in 1985 or 1986. Lea spent most of 1987 rehabilitating in the minors and endured one dreadful inning with the Expos before his comeback as a starter for the Twins in 1988, finishing 7-7 with a 4.85 ERA.