Originally written on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 11/14/14
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As he nears 1,000 career strikeouts, Jon Lester his having the worse season of his career which is overshadowing all other things. Then, when it seemed as though Lester could not pitch any worse this season, his outing Sunday afternoon happened.

Lester allowed career-highs in both home runs with four and earned runs with 11 over just four innings, dooming the Red Sox to a 15-7 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. This was the third consecutive start that Lester did not make it past the fourth inning and has allowed a first inning run in five consecutive starts. Over the span of those five starts, Lester has given up 11 total first inning runs, but none of those previous early woes compared to Sunday.

On the first pitch of the game, Lester was taken deep by Brett Lawrie and the downward spiral began. When the inning came to an end, Lester allowed five runs on four hits. Though the Red Sox responded in the bottom half of the inning with a three-run home run by Adrian Gonzalez, Lester would allow four more runs in the second inning. Then, after allowing a two-run home run with no outs in the fifth inning, Lester’s nightmare finally came to an end.

 

Following the weekend sweep to the Blue Jays, the Red Sox starting pitching woes are now at the forefront like never before. Their two aces, Josh Beckett and Lester are each 5-8 on the season, while the team is 13-23 in their starts. The Red Sox are in a critical part of their season, where their playoffs future could be decided if they do not win. Both pitchers have let their team down this season and it is now apparent more than ever that a trade to acquire a starting pitcher needs to be made.

If the Red Sox make a move for a starting pitcher, their best possible trade partner could be their former GM, Theo Epstein. The Chicago Cubs have the two starting pitchers on the market that have attracted the most attention, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.

Dempster is have a career year and has the lowest ERA in the majors at 2.11. The problem with acquiring Dempster is that he will not be under contract for next season. It is unlikely the Red Sox will want to unload the necessary prospects for a rental player. If they could somehow get Dempster to agree to an extension beyond this year, he would be a great acquisition for the Red Sox.

Garza seems to be the better option for the Red Sox, due largely to his past record in the American League East with the Tampa Bay Rays. For years, he was Red Sox killer but now could be a major help to saving the team’s season. The bonus is that Garza is under contract for at least another season, so it will be a better long term investment for the team.

Other options could be the bigger names like Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels, if their teams decide to put the high-end starters on the trade market. Hamels and his team the Philadelphia Phillies seem to be heading toward a contract extension, while Greinke is appearing content on testing the free agent market.

All of these trade rumors could be avoided if Beckett and Lester would begin to pitch the way we are accustomed to seeing them. The two are both former All-Stars and the team desperately needs them to snap out of their funks this season. It does not appear that they will be doing so anytime soon, so the team does not have any more time to waste and needs to make a move.

The Red Sox are in major need of a pitcher and as the July 31 trade deadline approaches, first-year GM Ben Cherington will have a chance to make his mark on his new team.

 

 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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