Having clinched their division a while ago, the Boston Red Sox have had time to rest up a bit, take care of some nagging injuries and line up their rotation as they see fit. The Red Sox had a simulated intrasquad game on Wednesday at Fenway Park, and it was there that John Farrell mentioned that Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy would pitch during that game. He then left it up to the rest of us to deduce what that means.
Most people are understanding this to mean that Jon Lester would be starting Game 1, and John Lackey would be the starter in Game 2.
This is the right choice. Lester has pitched in important games during his career, and he was 7-2 with a 2.57 earned run average in 13 starts after the All-Star break. He had that period of time after the break when he got a little rest, and that seemed to have really done wonders for him and gave him a second wind.
A good performance from him or even a halfway decent one would probably put the fried chicken and beer debacle of 2011 in the rear view mirror once and for all.
We keep on wanting to put Lester in the pitching aces group. You know those guys: Justin Verlander, David Price, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw. They are the usual names you hear mentioned when you think of an ace. Lester is almost to that point, yet has been too inconsistent to land him in that category.
Lester also has had lost some respect from the Boston fans not just for the previously mentioned collapse a few years ago, but just for how alarmingly flat he looked out on the mound last year. Red Sox Nation lost a lot of confidence in his ability to be a horse and the ace in the rotation.
He has really made efforts to turn it around this year, and his pitching has reflected that. It appears as though he has changed quite a few mechanics and now is returning to the same pitcher who had much confidence on the mound. Hopefully, Lester is returning to the ace we saw before 2011. It would be a huge boost for Boston’s chances in the postseason.
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