Looking at Jon Lester’s numbers now, it’s hard to believe that he looked unbeatable, along with Clay Buchholz, at the beginning of the season. With Buchholz possibly headed for the disabled list, Lester’s recent slump could end up being a huge problem for the Red Sox.
The Sox are no strangers to Lester’s shakiness from previous seasons, but with their ace sitting out, they’ll be desperate for him to start performing to make up for the rest of the also-shaky bullpen. Sunday’s game against the Orioles looked promising, but as Comcast Sports Center’s Sean McAdam said, “It's hard to ignore the warning signs and the negatives.”
In that game, Lester showed some signs of improvement, but didn’t get the necessary results. He had eight strikeouts and no walks, but he had five extra-base hits and reached 100 pitches in five innings.
Lester went 6-0 in his first nine starts with a 2.72 ERA. In his last 6 games, he has gone 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA, raising his season ERA to 4.37. The skill is there, but he can’t seem to bring it out when the Sox need him the most. And with the three losses to the Orioles in the last series, and another division series coming up with the Rays, the O’s have the chance to creep into first place if Sox pitching can’t perform. Hopefully Lester can kick it into high gear and pick up the slack that the injured Buchholz is leaving.