Tag Archives: Jon Lester

Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright’s 2013 Starts in Nipple-Tighteningly Cold Temperatures

Red Sox left-handed ace Jon Lester is slated to pitch tomorrow night against St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright in Game 1 of the 2013 World Series. The weather forecast calls for some chilly fall temperatures that will likely be sub-50 degrees by game time.

Lester has taken the ball three times this season for games in which the game-time temperature (per BaseballReference.com) was under 60⁰ F. All three starts came at Fenway Park, including Game 1 of the ALCS versus Detroit. The overall results have been encouraging.


Lester 2013 cold weather starts

The bad news for Boston is Wainwright was noticeably more dominant in his three “cold” weather starts. However, he has not made such a start since late April. Wainwright’s October starts have all come in warm to hot conditions – 89, 72 and 79 degrees.

Wainwright 2013 cold weather starts

Game 1 certainly has the feeling of a “pitcher’s duel” based on the quality of the starters and the forecasted temperatures. Watching guys with ailing hand/finger injuries foul inside pitches off his hands will be downright painful to watch. Shane Victorino might as well just sever the nerve endings in his right thumb before taking the field.

Anyway, the final score will probably wind up being something like 8-6.

Terse Predictions: ALCS Game 1, Detroit @ Boston

Under-explained predictions for tonight’s ALCS Game 1 at Fenway Park, ranked roughly in the order each will be confirmed or debunked.

1. David Ross will hit a home run sometime in the middle innings (4th through 6th).

2. Jon Lester will pitch less than 6 innings and will labor through 110+ pitches, but will record a victory.

3. Jacoby Ellsbury will steal two bases.

4. Prince Fielder will hit a home run over the visitor’s bullpen. A solo shot.

5. Clay Buchholz’s wife Lindsay Clubine will show up with the couple’s infant daughter during the second inning and sit in her usual seat behind home plate. She will exit before the game prior to the end of the 6th inning.

6. Craig Breslow will pitch the equivalent of a full inning in the game.

7. Koji Uehara will pitch in the game and will record an out total other than three.

Bonus: Nobody is going to purchase that opened copy of Fever Pitch that Curt Schilling is trying to pawn off as part of his estate sale.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, Aug. 30 – Sept. 5

Boston swept its three-game set against the Chicago White Sox last weekend and then took two of three from Detroit. The Sox capped off the week by handing the Yankees a demoralizing defeat in the first game of its four-game series in the Bronx. New York battled back from a 7-2 deficit to take a 8-7 lead before Mariano Rivera, who looks like he could pitch another 10 years, had a rare blown save.

Thanks to Tampa Bay’s struggles in Anaheim and Oakland, the Red Sox were able to increase their lead in the AL East to 6 ½ games. Boston’s lead over Detroit for the AL’s best record stands at three games. Despite the loss to Boston last night, the Yankees have seen their playoff odds increase 6.0 percentage points to 10% during the past week while Tampa’s West Coast slide has dropped its odds from about 86% to 74%, based on the Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds page.

Boston Wins in 10 Innings In New York
The Red Sox appeared to be on their way to a fairly comfortable win Thursday night before the Yankees exploded for six runs in the 7th inning. If this game had been played a week ago, Boston may have lost. The Sox scratched out a run in the ninth off Rivera thanks to a two-out single from Mike Napoli, who was lifted for pinch-runner Quintin Berry, a speed-first guy who is a luxury that can only be afforded on a 40-man roster. Berry promptly stole second and moved to third after the throw short-hopped Captain Jetes and wound up in shallow left field.*

quintin berry takes 3rd

*Dennis Eckersley did his best John Madden in Super Bowl XXXVI impression by initially questioning why Berry would be stealing second base with two outs in the 9th inning. You can almost hear the instant NESN producers were in his ear and good old Eck quickly did the right thing by mentioning Dave Roberts.

The Yankees provided to final two blunders of the night: Alfonso Soriano insisted on stealing every base possible against Craig Breslow, leading to his pickoff trying to steal third with one out in the ninth. And with the game in the balance, Joe Girardi brought Joba Chamberlain in for the 10th inning. If Joe Girardi promises to continue using one of his worst relievers in high-leverage, late-innings spots, Boston fans ought to start routing for New York to sneak into the playoffs.

girardi is disappointed

Boston Peppers the Fenway Stands During Eight-HR Night
The Sox hit dingers all over the park on Wednesday night. Daniel Nava’s two-run home run in the 6th inning, one of eight home runs hit by the team, chose a hefty fan’s face as its landing pad. Sure, this poor woman getting a face-full of beer thanks to the jackass sitting next to her got all the attention. But the fallout for this guy over the past couple of days has probably been a lot worse…

David Ortiz Collects His 2,000th Hit
Big Papi doubled off Al Alburquerque on Wednesday night during a 6th inning in which the Red Sox batted around and scored eight runs to turn the rubber game against Detroit into a blowout. Ortiz would later hit a homer in the 8th inning to pace the Red Sox’s 20-4 victory.

Boston Makes Some Roster Moves
During a season in which the Red Sox have remained relatively healthy as a team throughout, the September roster moves were exactly what a fan hopes for – marginal acquisitions and call-ups that add depth rather than address serious holes. The Red Sox acquired utility infielder John McDonald from Philadelphia in one of those “ depth” moves that probably spells doom if the player actually sees any at-bats in October. As part of September roster expansion, the Sox also recalled youngsters Rubby de la Rosa and Ryan Lavarnway. Matt Thornton and Brandon Snyder were also activated off the disabled list.

Lester Outduels Scherzer
Jon Lester faced off against Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer on Tuesday night and came away victorious, 2-1. Lester allowed one run, struck out nine batters and walked none while Scherzer walked three Red Sox and gave up two runs. The game will undoubtedly be pointed to later this month by advocates of Lester as Boston’s Game 1 playoff starter (if the Sox have the luxury to align the rotation). The whole decision could hinge on who has the best Angry Face on the team:

lester angry

Boston Herald Photo

lackey angry espn

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Buchholz Sets A Return Date?
Clay Buchholz made his last rehab start on Thursday night, throwing 71 pitches and striking out five batters in 3 2/3 innings. Clay could be back on the mound for Boston as soon as Tuesday night, assuming the Red Sox are keeping him on a relatively normal throwing schedule.

Theo Decides to Give Daniel Bard Another Whirl
Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein claimed Daniel Bard off waivers Wednesday after Boston designated the embattled right-handed reliever for assignment.

USA Today Names A ‘Minor League Player of the Year’?
They do. And this year’s winner was Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts joins some fairly lofty company – Andruw Jones (twice!), Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton as well as former Red Sox Gabe Kapler (1998) and Josh Beckett (2001).

This Week in Boston Baseballing, August 9 – 15

Boston capped off a tough weekend, dropping three of four in Kansas City to the surging Royals. However, their place in the standings actually improved thanks to Tampa Bay’s six-game losing streak, which finally ended Wednesday night. Last night, the Sox stranded 12 runners to lose the rubber game of the three-game series in Toronto, 2-1, capping off the 10-game road trip.

The Yankees are in town for a three-game series at Fenway beginning tonight. Boston fans will have their first opportunity to boo A-Rod since the announcement that he will be suspended – at some point – for his involvement with Biogenesis.

Boston’s Playoff Odds Now Stand At 93.7%
Based on the Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds report, the odds that the Red Sox make the playoffs now stand at 93.7%, with the team making the tournament 63.4% of the time as the AL East champs and 30.2% of the time as a Wild Card participant. Simulated wins projection has the Red Sox at right at 93 victories. While the Red Sox averaged 93.2 wins during the 10 years leading up to the 2012 debacle, it is hard not to have a special appreciation for the team’s success this season.

MLB Will Begin Using Instant Replay in 2014
Major League Baseball’s announcement that it will institute instant replay next season came with the claim that 89% of past incorrect calls would be reviewable under the new rules. Boston already had one game end in a loss this season – when Jerry Meals called a sliding Daniel Nava out at home – that may have gone the other way had replay been available.

Koji Uehara Vests His 2014 Contract In Style
During Tuesday night’s 4-2 victory in 11 innings against Toronto, Uehara earned a win as Boston recorded its 19th victory in its final at-bat. It was his 55th appearance, meaning that a $4.25 million option for 2014 has officially vested and Koji is likely to be a Red Sox for a second season. The vesting option increases to $5 million if Uehara finishes 35 games. As of Friday, he had finished 24.

Payroll Obligations for 2014 Now Stand At Roughly $110 Million
Boston already has most of its core officially on the books for next year with two notable exceptions – Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester, who can either be bought out for $250,000 or be extended for one more year at $13 million. In other words, Boston has a significant decision to make regarding Lester. The idea of yet another guy on the team making $13 mil may be too enticing to pass up, but if the Sox are bullish on Lester’s ability to maintain ~3.0-WAR value into his mid-30s, they might be able to get better value extending his contract a few years at a lesser annual average.

Stan Grossfeld Wrote A Pretty Strange ‘Where Are They Now?’ Profile of Curt Schilling
Curt provided only one surprising bit of news in the article – that he suffered a heart attack in November 2011. Although his reluctance to share the information with the general public is transparently phony, it was probably trumped by Grossfeld’s implication that he only caught wind of the information because a “visitor” mentioned it in passing to Schilling during the interview (conducted at Curt’s daughter’s softball game).

Curt’s wife Shonda (could she be considered a ‘visitor’??) believes her husband is lucky to be alive, but not because the heart attack was particularly serious: “I don’t know how somebody would not kill himself, honestly, over what he has had to endure,” she says.

Shonda Schilling probably gives fantastic wedding toasts.

Jon Lester’s thoughts on pizza with Hanley Ramirez say absolutely nothing (unless you are an idea-starved Boston Herald sports columnist)

Here’s hoping the financially strapped Boston Herald pays Steve Buckley by the word rather than by the magnitude of his idiocy.

After last night’s All-Star game, a reporter attempted to extract a throwaway quote from Jon Lester regarding his days in the minors with former Sox farmhand-turned-superstar Hanley Ramirez. As Buckley puts it, “If, by some miracle…had they perhaps gone out for pizza one night and talked about someday playing in the All-Star Game…”

Lester’s response: “I’d have a better chance of being struck by lightning than me and him getting a pizza together,” he said. “You can take that for what it’s worth. But there was no chance on God’s green earth that I was getting a pizza with him.”

Translation: OK, then. Clearly, the two weren’t buddies. They played a few seasons together in Portland and Augusta, but perhaps had little in common other than the uniform they wore at the ballpark every day.

Time to investigate other possible story angles.

Unless you’re Steve Buckley. If you’re an old Boston sports columnist, this is a good time to write about how guys like Lester are “throwbacks” in the Bob Gibson mold because, in Ramirez, the Sox ace “saw somebody with whom he’d never step out for a pizza. And there’s absolutely nothing unusual about that. What is unusual is that Lester would say so.”

Is it really unusual? Maybe some enterprising reporter ought to take a survey of who is eating pizza with whom. What if guys are lying about who they eat pizza with? Would the Players Association agree to some sort of testing procedure to find out?

This is an embarrassingly stupid premise for a column. At best, it is a lame, backwards attempt to point out that Jon Lester is having a pretty good season. People already know this. At worst, this is the type of silly anecdote that twists an innocuous answer to a lame question and trivializes the hard work put into perfecting the cut fastball.

About the only saving grace for this “column” is that is wasn’t written by Gerry Callahan. Because everybody already knows that only white guys eat pizza and care about winning.