As the Boston Red Sox face their rival New York Yankees on Opening Day, Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester should be on the mound. It looks like Boston manager John Farrell looks to be going in that direction. Lester has been the starter for the past two years on Opening Day and with this year’s preseason performance he deserves to get the nod.
Currently Lester is on a five day pitching rotation. His last preseason action will be this upcoming Wednesday and five days after that would be Opening Day. So even though Lester has not received any word, signs are pointing to him pitching on April 1.
Lester was even joking with reporters down in Florida to see if they had heard anything from Farrell or the Boston pitching coaches. Jon also told reporters that he has been working on his fastball. He was looking to put his fastball around the bottom of the strike zone.
Jon spoke with ESPN’s Gordon Edes about that saying, “That’s the biggest thing for any pitcher. Regardless if it’s Jamie Moyer or Randy Johnson, you’ve got to have fastball command to get them to swing at your other pitches.”
With all of his work this Spring Training on fine tuning his pitches and locations, Lester does not look at strikeouts as the sign of a great pitcher. In the past few years Lester’s strikeout rate has dipped, but that is not a concern to him. Lester feels that striking out batters requires him to throw a lot more in a game. In his perfect world batters would hit ground balls in the infield for easy outs.
For Lester he would rather play the entire game with infield hits and easy line drive outs than striking out eight guys in a row and only play up to six innings.
The other four pitchers that are looking to be part of the five man rotation are Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront and John Lackey. These four are great pitchers, but Lester is to be the ace for the Red Sox and should be the Opening Day starter.