In what may have seemed like an aberration to Boston Red Sox fans on Monday night was indeed a big performance for team ace Jon Lester. Lester not only picked up the 6-1 win against the offensively deficient Seattle Mariners, but he went the full nine innings.
A Red Sox pitcher going six or seven innings these days seems like a big deal never mind nine like Lester did. Lester struck out six hitters without allowing a walk and did not let Seattle score until the ninth inning.
With the win Boston has won four straight to pull to 16-19 on the year. This team is more up and down and streaky like the Dow Jones or NASDAQ. Certainly no one surely knows where this Red Sox team will end up a few months down the road.
Boston not only has plenty of questions with its pitching staff, but also with some of its position players as well. What is the team going to do when Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis come back? Marlon Byrd would seem to be the odd man out in the outfield, but will the team look at the stellar play of the young Will Middlebrooks who has outplayed Youkilis so far this year.
Daisuke Matsuzaka is close to returning as well, which can help add depth to the already struggling pitching staff. If Daisuke can pitch solid at the back end of the rotation then maybe somebody else gets moved to the bullpen for long relief.
Jon Lester pitched well and dropped his ERA under four (3.71) at the same time. The Red Sox hope this sets the tone for the rest of the pitching staff.