Lucas broke in as a pitcher but lacked a good fastball, so efforts were made to convert him into an infielder to take advantage of his hitting ability. His exceptional control eventually made him a top NL righthander, but his reputation as a good-hitting pitcher far overshadowed his accomplishments on the mound. He won 109 games for the perennial second-division Reds from 1926 through 1933, with highs of 18 in 1927 and 19 in 1929. In 1933 he walked only 18 in 220 innings, and his 1.61 bases on balls per nine innings places him 20th all-time.
In 1929, ’31, and ’32 he led the NL in complete games and in one stretch in 1931-32 completed 27 consecutive starts, a modern record. For his career he completed 68% of 301 starts. Among his best-pitched games were a 15-inning, 1-0 win over the Giants (7/16/33) and a 3-0 win over the Dodgers (7/22/27) in which he issued no walks, faced the minimum 27 batters, and gave up only one scratch hit.
His career batting average was .281 and his 114 pinch hits and 437 pinch at-bats (a .261 average) were ML records for many years. He still ranks in the top ten in both categories.