If the Boston Red Sox keep hitting like they did last night in Detroit, it won’t matter that Jon Lester has become an ineffective shell of his former self.
In last night’s 10-6 win over the Detroit Tigers, Lester continued to struggle. For the fourth time in seven games, he gave up at least five earned runs. What made it worse was that he was staked to a lead. After four innings, the Red Sox held a 6-1 advantage. I remember thinking to myself, “this is exactly what Lester needs right now to build his confidence. Just go seven innings with an earned run and take an 8-1 win.”
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.
In the fifth inning, Lester came unraveled. After giving up a leadoff home run to Andy Dirks, he seemed to lose his confidence. When he gave up a single to Brayan Pena in the next at-bat, I knew it was a bad sign. After allowing Torii Hunter to reach base, it was to no one’s surprise that Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run smash that brought the Tigers within one run.
Lester had no shot against Cabrera. He’s the best hitter on the planet right now by a mile. The lefty had lost his confidence and was falling apart in front of my eyes. He hadn’t retired Cabrera during the game yet, and if he had struck out Miggy, I would’ve been pleasantly surprised. But, he’s just not that kind of pitcher right now.
On the bright side, Jose Iglesias continues to be one of the most enjoyable players to watch on the Red Sox. What’s not to like about this guy? All he does is hit. The supposedly soft-hitting shortstop upped his on-base streak to 21 straight games with a 3-for-5 performance. His triple in the sixth inning was fun to watch. The little man makes great contact and seems to have a good eye for the ball, as he poked the ball into the right field corner and hustled his way to third.
The star of the game was of course the Flyin’ Hawaiian, Shane Victorino. He got to Tigers’ starter Doug Fister early and often, hitting his third home run in the first inning. From that point on he was a hitting machine, knocking in four more runs to finish with a four for five performance and five RBI.
It seems unlikely at this point that Lester can get his act together. Hopefully the All-Star break helps him get his head in the right place, because it’s all mental with him. In the meantime though, if Victorino and Iglesias can keep playing like this, it won’t matter.