Jon Lester has been the elephant in the room. You really can’t say he’s a bad pitcher. But right now, you can’t say he’s a good pitcher either. He’s not hurt, so what’s wrong with him?
Manager John Farrell put in his two cents about Lester before yesterday’s win over the Colorado Rockies.
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
"We've got to get Jon Lester back on track," Farrell said according to MLB.com. "There's no denying that. He'd be the first to admit to you as well."
For a pitcher who started his season 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA and was one of the best along with Clay Buchholz, the 7.30 ERA he’s posted in his last seven starts is a little more than “off track.” It’s completely anomalous. Lester can usually endure throughout a game, but hasn’t made it through six innings in three starts.
Farrell asserted that these troubles were all mental. “There's been, I think, at times he'll rush a little bit to try and get through a given inning, and that might cause that inning to be prolonged,” Farrell said. Lester has always had these issues. He’s always had the talent, but it’s almost as though he gets spooked when he gets himself into a little bit of trouble. The minute he goes downhill, even if it’s just for a moment, there’s no coming back up.
What seemed like a problem that Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves had wrangled at the beginning of the season has turned into something very ugly. But with Buchholz possibly out until after the All-Star break, Lester needs to get back into that earlier groove fast.
Still, Farrell has confidence in Lester.
"I don't think Jon Lester's stretch he's on will continue," Farrell said. "He's too talented of a pitcher."
Lester is set to pitch tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.