Jon Lester One Of Red Sox Many Disappointments
This Red Sox season has been headlined by disappointments from the whole organization top to bottom. The product on the field was just simply not good enough to win even 75 games, as the season comes to a close next week. Many players will have another long off season to look in the mirror and ask themselves what happened? One of those players has to be Jon Lester.
Lester, who started opening day has been a top performer for the Red Sox over the last few years, but this year he had no such luck. He cannot blame it on Jason Varitek being retired, as Varitek barely caught him to begin with. He cannot blame it on Terry Francona not being the manager as Lester is part of the reason Francona is working for ESPN right now. Lester has had seven starts this season in which he has given up for than five runs. I know sometimes that may get you a quality start but that stat is nothing to brag about. If he is the ace of the staff he needs to come in next spring and reduce those runs allowed.
Early on in the season the Red Sox began complaining about the umpires strike zone. It came from the coaches, pitchers and hitters. Arguing balls and strikes is going to get the players no where. Lester was one of the pitchers who after he would miss on a close pitch would change on the mound. He would sulk, stare down the umpire, and just not look in control on the situation. He should have been motivated to spin his fastball by the hitter on the next pitch, but instead he was over thinking which sometimes turned into three runs. His demeanor on the mound this season has not been the same. Even after getting pulled in a game in Toronto where you could see he was yelling at a heckling fan above the Red Sox dugout. The old Jon Lester would not have been distracted by that stuff.
Lester started opening day for a reason because Bobby Valentine believed in him. He past Josh Beckett on the list. Next year I believe Clay Buchholz should start opening day to send a message to Lester to get his game in gear. Sure Buchholz has had his problems this season. His April was something to forget. But his demeanor on the mound and looking out for teammates has made him the new staff ace.
The positive from all of this is that Lester will reach 200 innings pitched and he is healthy. Going into the off season healthy should help him figure out what happened this year and come back stronger in 2013. Lester will be looked upon as a big piece to rebuild the Red Sox as they kept him this past trading deadline and cut off other big pieces. Lester is a homegrown product so the staff have an attachment to him. Let’s hope the Lester of old returns in 2013.