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.
Lester carved up the Phillies over seven shutout innings, allowing just three baserunners, as the Red Sox won, 6-0. He gave up just two hits with a hit batter, no walks, and 10 strikeouts. Lester threw 88 pitches, 63 for strikes.
“Well, I think that speaks for itself. I don’t have to describe it. You saw it. He was outstanding. That’s what he was aiming to do. He threw about 90 pitches and how many strikeouts’d he get, nine, 10? That’s pretty good. But the fact that he was ahead in the count. He was happy with that. Threw his off-speed pitches down in the zone anytime he wanted. Fastball was explosive. That’s pretty good stuff.”
And better than his last outing, March 21 against the Pirates, when he gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks with one strikeout over three innings.
“Felt pretty much he same as last time, just was able to get the ball down in the zone a little more,” Lester said. “Obviously when you're able to do that, most of the time you get better results than last time. So that was the biggest thing early, just trying to establish getting the ball down and we were able to do that.”
CSNNE | Lester looks sharp against Phillies
Finally, one pitcher we don't have to worry about.
For Beckett, it's his attitude and durability. For Buchholz, it's his back. Bard has never started and doesn't have the confidence of his manager. Doubront, Aceves, and Cook are still trying to show they deserve to be the worst starter on an average pitching team.
But Lester is the one guy. He's in his prime, we know what he is. He's consistent. Battle-tested. Has the stuff, is a lefty, has the respect of his peers. It's good to have one of those guys.
Is he a top-shelf ace? Probably not. I don't see him ever point together a 2011 Verlander season, or resembling Sabathia or Halladay. He's not going to go vintage Pedro on us. But he's going to give us 200 innings of low-3.00 ERA, and the team will have a chance to win in each of his starts.
On page 2, John Lackey, a pitcher who doesn't match almost anything I said about Lester, chimes in on how everyone hates him for being so terrible.
“The only way you’re going to change people’s opinions is to pitch better and win games,’’ he said. “It’s amazing how quickly people will forget if you win.’’
Asked if he thought he received more blame than he deserved, Lackey said, “I’m not going to get into all that. You’re just trying to stir up old stuff. It wasn’t a lot of fun.’’
Was he treated unfairly? “Honestly, things that you guys were saying were some of my least worries last year,’’ he said. “So whatever. What are you going to do? I’m really comfortable with who I am as a person. If you think my performance on the field is who I am, you’re a little twisted.’’
Globe | Catching up with pitcher Lackey
A few things, John.
For one, people are not judging you as a person because of your on field performance. Don't get me wrong, your on-field performance is awful, year in, year out. But your off-field performance isn't much better. Divorcing a cancer-ridden woman: An easy way to make people think you're awful.
To your second point: Will we forget if you start winning? Probably, but you're not going to be forgiven everything if you manage to win 15 games in 2013. You've wasted this franchise a lot of money, and this fanbase a lot of time and frustration. It's not a media conspiracy, and Red Sox fans aren't a bunch of meanypants. You're awful, and we don't like you.
CSNNE | Valentine: No power struggle with Cherington | Papelbon advice for Bailey: Go day to day | ESPNBoston | Bobby Valentine: No rift with GM | Lester has a boffo dress rehearsal | Red Sox 6, Phillies 0 | Globe | Ex-Red Sox Lucier, 94, still follows team | Lester tosses a spring gem | Herald | No ill will between Sox manager, GM | Prospect Lavarnway caught in middle | Youk back in good shape | Papi coming of age | Pap's intention not to fan flames