Yes, Jon Lester picked up another loss. Yes, the Red Sox were unable to score a single run. Yes, the team left eight players on base and went 0-5 with runner in scoring position. A closer examination though, shows us that this was actually a pretty good loss.
Let’s start with Lester. The Red Sox Opening Day starter’s biggest problem this year has been settling down when he finds himself in jams. Time and time again, we’ve seen Lester get flustered after not getting a strike call or giving up a base hit in a long at-bat.
Yesterday, the team didn’t see any of that until the seventh inning. For instance, Lester walked Yoenis Cespedes and gave up a single to Josh Reddick in the second, but then got Derek Norris to ground out to end the inning. You could argue that he should have been pulled after six innings, but this ignores the fact that he hadn’t even thrown 100 pitches yet.
After walking Norris and giving up a single to Reddick, it was clear that Lester was unraveling. Manager John Farrell had seen this before, and he finally decided it was time to give him the hook.
Yes, Lester gave up three runs. But on most nights, that will be good enough. Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t going to go a combined 0-for-8 very often, and most pitchers they face won’t be as on point as A.J. Griffin was last night. If the Sox can get Lester to pitch like this for the rest of the season, it will be good enough to bring the AL East pennant back to Boston.