Originally posted on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 3/18/13
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. Jon Lester was perfect. Boston’s entire pitching staff nearly was on the day. Lester retired 18 consecutive batters and combined with his bullpen to hold the Tampa Bay Rays without a baserunner until one out in the ninth, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 5-1 victory Sunday. Jason Bourgeois reached on an infield hit in the ninth against Marco Duarte, Boston’s fourth pitcher. Lester, Boston’s projected opening-day starter, struck out six and threw 53 of 79 pitches for strikes. He has allowed two runs, six hits and four walks over five starts and 20 innings, striking out 16. ‘‘Eighteen up, 18 down,’’ Red Sox manager John Farrell said. ‘‘I thought the one thing that stood out to me was the number of 3-2 pitches that he executed. ... He pitched with a lot of confidence. Didn’t overthrow. But yet, at the same time, we’re seeing an increase in power from start to start. Very sharp, obviously.’’ Four of Lester’s six strikeouts ended innings. He set the tone early, with two strikeouts in the first inning. ‘‘Was able to get in a good rhythm early on, established our fastball, just kind of went from there,’’ he said. ‘‘I had a good breaking ball today, which was good to see. We've been working on that. So all in all it was good day.’’ Globe: Lester perfect for 6 IP as Red Sox beat Rays 5-1 If Jon Lester pitched a perfect game in it's entirety, would it be a big deal? Not really. If that outing was not enough to cement his status as ace, I don't know what it will take to do so. Jon Lester had everything working for him yesterday. For those of you who watched, you saw the Jon Lester of 2010. The outing looked effortless. That outing was very promising, giving us some hope that Lester is returning to form, and we will see some decent pitching this season. We can't get too excited; there is still plenty of spring training baseball to get through. Related: ESPN Boston: Takeaways: Perfect posture for Lester | Herald: Lester perfect for 6 IP as Red Sox beat Rays 5-1 | WEEI: Jon Lester after six perfect innings: 'This is me' On Page 2, Jackie Bradley Jr. could make the opening day roster “That’s a hell of a question,’’ Farrell said when asked about the possibility of Bradley opening the season with Boston, which he had consistently maintained was unlikely earlier in camp. “We’ve got two weeks to determine that. He’s not on the roster right now, he’d have to be added, obviously. What the countermove to that would be has to be factored into this. Can’t deny the fact that he’s having a hell of a spring training. “The bottom-line thing is, with any young player, whether it’s Jackie or any young position player, when they come to the big leagues you want to make sure they get regular at-bats. If those are there, that becomes part of the equation. I think most importantly, he’s doing whatever he can to impact a decision.’’ A key factor in that decision, Farrell said, is how Bradley fares against big-league pitchers as they get closer to being ready for the season. “That situation is ongoing until ultimately a decision is [made] in the near future here.’’ ESPN Boston: Morning report: Bradley in mix for opener There will be no argument from me if Bradley makes the roster for Opening Day. The only thing I will be upset about will be the missed opportunity to see him in Pawtucket. As I said in about Lester's progress, there is still a lot of spring training baseball to play and a lot can change in the next two weeks. Related: Globe: Jackie Bradley Jr. could stick with the Red Sox | Herald: Opening Day debate revolves around impact of Bradley | WEEI: Jackie Bradley Jr. still in play for an Opening Day roster spot The rest of the links: Globe: Lester pitcher perfect in six-inning outing | As Stephen Dreew recovers, Red Sox need to pick a shortstop  |  A perfect day for Jon Lester | Herald: Buckley: Joe Maddon knows it'll be close | Stephen Drew concussion has Iglesias in lead role | Lester's spring perfect timing for Sox | WEEI: With Stephen Drew sidelined, Jose Iglesias may be Red Sox Opening Day shortstop There will be no argument from me if Bradley makes the roster for Opening Day. The only thing I will be upset about will be the missed opportunity to see him in Pawtucket. As I said in about Lester's progress, there is still a lot of spring training baseball to play and a lot can change in the next two weeks.
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