Jon Lester has developed into one of the most dominant left-handed starters in baseball.
He’s accomplished a great deal both on and off the field in his brief career, but it took the lefty six seasons to conquer the month of April.
Lester entered the 2011 season just 3-5 with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP (his worst in any month) in 16 career April starts.
On Opening Day against the Rangers, he allowed five earned runs without recording a single strikeout. It was his first start without a K since April 9th, 2008.
Since that discouraging outing, Lester has posted five straight quality starts and finishes with easily the best opening month of his career.
Lester went 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA in six April starts in 2011. He struck out 34 batters in 39.1 innings pitched and only allowed one home run after serving up three on Opening Day in Texas.
His start on Thursday night in Baltimore was reminiscent of a true ace, salvaging a game for the Red Sox in Baltimore and leading them to a 6-3 record on their nine-game road trip.
The 27-year-old went eight innings and allowed just two earned runs, picking up his third consecutive win in the process and continuing his domination of the Orioles.
Lester is now 14-0 in his career against Baltimore with a 2.33 ERA. Half of those dominating wins have come at Camden Yards.
The lefty has already established himself as a stopper in the Sox rotation, but for the first time in his career, he’s on a rare hot streak to begin the season.
After another lackluster start last year, Lester was in the discussion for the American League Cy Young award last season until his final start of the season.
With an impressive April finally under his belt, expect him to be a favorite again in 2011.