After a disappointing season in 2012, the Boston Red Sox still have faith in Jon Lester, as they’ve named him the team’s opening day starter. The left-hander will get the ball as the Red Sox take on the New York Yankees on April 1 in the Bronx.
Last season, Lester pitched in 33 games, posting a career worst 9-14 record with a 4.82 ERA. Over his 205.1 innings, he struck out 166 batters and surrendered a career-high 25 home runs. The 2012 season was his worst season in the major leagues since being called up in 2006.
The announcement came only hours before his final spring training start. This spring, Lester has pitched in five games, posting a 3-0 record with 16 strikeouts and a league-leading 0.90 ERA and 0.50 WHIP. The Red Sox starting pitcher proved to the front office and coaching staff he is ready to become the ace of the starting rotation for this season.
If the Red Sox are to succeed in 2013, Lester will need to pitch more like his 2010 when he won 19 games. As the best pitcher in the rotation, a bad season for the 29-year old could spell doom for the entire rotation and the whole roster. If he can put up good numbers and be the leader in the clubhouse, the rest of the pitching staff will follow suit.
Following Lester in the rotation, Clay Buchholz and Ryan Dempster will get the next two starts against the Yankees. Felix Doubront and John Lackey will get their first starts north of the border against the Toronto Blue Jays.
It looks like Buchholz will be in line to get the ball when the Red Sox open up at Fenway Park on April 8.