It's official: Lester will start Game 1 of ALDS, rotation set

Photo Courtesy of
Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports
Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The inevitable was delayed just a few days, but what we thought we knew is now official.

Boston manager John Farrell announced the Red Sox starting rotation for the 2013 Posteason this afternoon following a intrasquad scrimmage held at Fenway Park.

Jon Lester will be on the bump for Game 1 of the ALDS Friday afternoon. Many expected Lester to be the horse that carried the Sox rotation this season. After an impressive 6-0 start, Lester struggled toward the middle of the season and into the All-Star Break. He went 2-6 after the undefeated beginning to the season.

The left-hander took a few extra days rest during the break and bounced back with a stellar second half, finishing the season with a 15-8 record with a 3.75 ERA overall (7-2 after the All-Star Break). Lester was unlucky in his only two losses of the second half, giving up six total runs (four earned) in 13 innings.

He showed why he was expected to be the ace of the staff and Farrell has rewarded him by giving Lester the ball to open the postseason.

The remaining rotation is in order as follows: John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy.

Each of the three starters has shown it could be a No. 1 or 2 in a postseason series. Lackey has been the most consistent Red Sox pitcher this season, sporting a 3.52 ERA. His record (10-12) doesn’t show how well he’s pitched, but ask anybody in the Sox clubhouse and they will tell you Lackey has been magnificent this year.

Buchholz is somewhat of a wild card, hence why he is the No. 3. He began the season 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA and was on his way to a potential Cy Young season before being injured June 8. He didn’t pitch again for three months, but has shown he’s still got it, going 3-1 in four starts and only allowing five earned runs. He finished the season 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA.

Peavy has been more than the Sox could have wanted since coming over via trade at the deadline. The bulldog right-hander is 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA with the Red Sox (12-5, 4.17 ERA between Chicago and Boston), including a complete-game, three-hit, one-run outing to clinch a series against the LA Dodgers.

From the beginning, Farrell has said that whoever is on the mound that day is the Red Sox No. 1 starter, whether it’s Opening Day or the first game of the World Series. The staff has done a great job of accepting their roles and each pitcher has the mindset that when he gets the ball, he’s the ace.

Red Sox Nation can only hope that mindset transitions to the postseason. If so, the Red Sox may be hoisting a rather significant trophy come the end of October.

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