Found September 04, 2013 on
Jon Lester is ending the year the way he started it.
In Lester’s first 4 starts in April, he compiled a 4-0 record with a 3.11 ERA. He commanded his fastball and cutter with velocity and was attacking hitters by pounding the strike zone consistently. In his last 6 starts, Lester has only been touched for 8 runs in 42 innings pitched, while lowering his ERA from 4.37 to 3.88 in those starts.
Now, Lester hasn’t reinvented the wheel here to get back on track. He has always been, and always will be, a pitcher who lives, and dies by his cutter. In June, when he gave up 8 home runs and had an ERA above 7.00, his cutter was atrociously flat. Opponents were teeing off on it because he couldn’t locate it correctly, it kept leaking out towards the middle of the plate and just sitting there for hitters to clobber.
As a result, he kind of gave up on it, making things worse for the big lefty because the only success he’s ever had in his career was with that pitch.
But after the All-Star break, and even more so lately, Lester has seemed to gain his confidence back with the cutter. When Lester is on like he is now, his cutter has some nasty bite to it. He can place it on the outside corner and hitters, specifically right handers, tend to give up on it early. Once he establishes that, his secondary pitches just compliment it. It’s kind of like the cutter sets the table for everything else Jon Lester can throw, and he just wasn’t establishing that cutter to hitters when he was struggling.
His latest victims were the Detroit Tigers. One of baseball’s very best offenses were shut down by a vintage Lester in a possible playoff preview against Max Scherzer. He went seven strong innings, allowing one run, and nine punch outs. It was one of those games that just felt a lot more meaningful than a regular season game so it was huge to see Lester perform in a big spot.
The velocity on his pitches was something we haven’t seen out of Lester in some time, hitting 97 on the radar gun at one point. Lester’s cutter sat around 90.2 mph in his start against Detroit. To make a comparison, his cutter velocity was recorded on average as low as 85.8 mph in a start earlier this year. That’s a monumental difference when it comes to forcing hitters to react.
The Red Sox will go as far as their pitching will take them. All the talk about their offense is great and all, but starting pitching wins championships. Boston has the potential to match any team it might face in the playoffs arm for arm after the acquisition of Jake Peavy at the deadline, but that’s only if Clay Buchholz can return and pick up where he left off. Lester has been great lately, but without an ace in a five or seven games series, it would be tough to beat a team like Detroit with Scherzer and Verlander. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, it would just be difficult without a potent 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation.
All reports point to Buchholz making a September 10th return against Tampa Bay barring any setbacks, so that’s good news. But the Boston Red Sox are going to need both Lester and Buchholz performing at high-levels if they want to still be playing in the last week of October.
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Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Miguel Cabrera is, as Jon Lester noted last night, the best hitter on the planet.
So, when Cabrera came up to the plate with three Detroit Tigers on base and the visitors holding a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning...
Bauman With Jon Lester (FenwayNation Photo)Marathon bombing hero Jeff Bauman has struck a deal with Grand Central Publishing to write a memoir of his experiences. Bauman lost both his legs last April 15th and was lauded for his lucid bedside descriptions of the terrorist Tsarnaev brothers—descriptions that led to their quick apprehension. The book will be published next Spring...
(Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)In perhaps his best performance of the year, re-established Ace Jon Lester went seven strong innings, struck out nine and got just enough offense for a thrilling 2-1 win over the Tigers. Besting fellow ace Max Scherzer, Lester was dazzling when he had to be—keeping the game close until Will Middlebrooks laced a two-run single up the middle...
It was a battle of two aces on Tuesday night, but Jon Lester saved one of his best performances of the season for the occasion, and he was rewarded with a hard-earned win.
The left-hander allowed only one run, and struck out a season-high nine batters over his seven innings of work. Lester outdueled Max Scherzer who was seeking his 20th win of the season, and looking to become...
I hate Jon Lester, I always have hated Jon Lester. You can go back through the archives of this blog and find all my anti-Jon Lester rants and raves. Part of that comes from the fan-base that widely overuses the word “ace” when it comes to baseball and calling Jon Lester an “ace” for a couple of years now. Jon Lester isn’t an “ace” and never has been an “ace”. Kershaw...
Jon Lester struck out a season-high nine to lead the Red Sox past
Tigers ace Max Scherzer on Tuesday at Fenway (Boston Herald photo)
Redsox.com was labeling this one as the “Ace-off”.
And while both Detroit’s Max Scherzer and Boston’s Jon Lester more than lived up to the advance billing, it was the Red Sox that managed to outwit...
Jon Lester doesn’t know if Ryan Dempster hit Alex Rodriguez on purpose. He doesn’t seem to care, either.
The dust has finally settled regarding the whole Dempter-Rodriguez incident from Aug. 18, but Lester showed support for his teammate while making an appearance on WAAF’s The Hill-Man Morning Show on Wednesday.
“He never told us straightforward if he threw at him on purpose...
8 a.m. ET: Monday’s series opener between the Red Sox and Tigers was not what you would expect from the two highest-scoring teams in baseball. Both starters took shutouts into the seventh inning, with Detroit’s Doug Fister emerging victorious in a 3-0 Tigers win.
Don’t be shocked if you see more of the same on Tuesday. The second matchup in a three-game series between the...
Even without Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers showed why they are still considered the team to beat in the American League, shutting out the Boston Red Sox 3-0 in the series opener on Labor Day. Detroit (81-57) now trails Boston (82-57) by a half-game for the best record in the AL with a chance to overtake the top spot tonight.
Jon Lester has...
Max Scherzer may have been the American League's best pitcher this season but on Tuesday night Jon Lester was better.
Scherzer came into the game looking for his 20th victory of the season but Lester outpitched him limiting the Detroit Tigers to a single run on eight hits over even innings as the Red Sox held off Detroit 2-1.
The Sox hung Scherzer with only his second...
The Red Sox open a four-game series with the increasingly irrelevant Evil Empire tonight, sending Jake Peavy to the mound to face Ivan Nova. On Friday, Felix Doubront will take to the hill against fellow left-hander Andy "HGH" Pettitte. On Saturday afternoon, John Lackey will take on someone named David Huff and Sunday afternoon's match-up will feature Jon Lester against...
BOSTON (AP) -- Jon Lester outdueled Max Scherzer and the Boston Red Sox beat Detroit 2-1 on Tuesday night, ending the Tigers right-hander's chance to become just the second pitcher to open a season with a 20-1 record.
Lester (13-8) lowered his ERA to 1.71 in his past six starts. He allowed one earned run and eight hits with a season-high nine strikeouts and no walks.
Jon Lester outdueled Max Scherzer and the Boston Red Sox beat
Detroit 2-1 on Tuesday night, ending the Tigers right-hander's
chance to become just the second pitcher to open a season with a
Photo Courtesy of NESN
Yesterday's match up had the feel and look of a playoff game. It was a tight pitchers duel between two aces and the crowd was into it. Why? Because the road back to another World Series will go through the Motor City in the ALCS. Simple as that. If we make it past the ALDS, we will most likely see Detroit again.
First Pitch: Thursday 7:05, Friday 7:05, Saturday 1:05, Sunday 1:05
Arms: Thursday: Jake Peavy, RHP (3-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova, RHP (8-4, 2.88 ERA)
Friday: Felix Doubront, LHP (10-6, 3.89 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte, LHP (10-9, 4.01 ERA)
Saturday: John Lackey, RHP (8-12, 3.22 ERA) vs. David Huff, LHP (2-0, 1.13 ERA)
Sunday: Jon Lester, LHP (10-7, 4.37 ERA) vs. Hiroki...