Aces in the hole: Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz

Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

On the laundry list of the Red Sox’ problems in the 2012 season, pitching was somewhere around the top. And Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz were two of the biggest disappointments. Over the years, Lester and Buchholz have been inconsistent and plagued by injuries and health issues. But this season, much to the relief of many previously miserable fans, the two aces are showing their value.

Buchholz is inarguably the best starter on the Sox so far. He has the most wins and second best ERA (behind Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore) in the entire league. And as this Bleacher Report article pointed out, Buchholz is the only starter in 11 years to go at least seven innings with two earned runs or less. The last pitcher on the Sox who did that was Pedro Martinez.

Buchholz probably won’t keep that 1.19 ERA all season, but it doesn’t seem as though he’ll move very far from the top of the pitching leader boards at any point. He has perfected almost all of his pitches and has been keeping his cool on the mound. All of that makes him one of the best, if not the best, weapons in the Sox’ arsenal.

And Lester isn’t half bad himself this season. Lester’s ERA is lower than usual, and between the two of them, they have yet to lose a game, although reliever Junichi Tazawa got the win in one of Lester’s starts.

Lester’s only downfall is his lack of control in pressure situations. His numbers get worse when there are runners on base or when he’s down in the count. In his last start against the Oakland Athletics, he almost lost it entirely, letting up three runs in an inning after disagreements with the home plate umpire got him frustrated. But if Lester can manage to reach the same degree of levelheadedness that Buchholz has, the two may just be unstoppable.

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