Jon Lester definitely set the tone for the first game of the ALDS between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. This has been something that Boston fans have wanted to see for a long time now. It is very important for a team in the postseason to have their best pitcher locked in and focused. Is Lester that ace that can carry the team deep in October?
One of the issues with Lester is that he tends to let his emotions get the best of him on the mound. If a call goes the wrong way or something happens that he disagrees with, you can tell by his body language that he may have let the game get away from him. That is not what you want to see from the pitcher that is considered to be your ace. The great pitchers find a way to deal with adversities and work their way through them.
Lester has been much better at dealing with his emotions this season, and it has reflected in his performances. John Farrell and Juan Nieves have worked well in getting him to make these types of adjustments; he didn’t let a bad call get to him and he stayed completely focused. Hopefully he continues to keep on pitching like this, because when you have a pitcher who is throwing well, they can be absolutely dominant in a short series, especially knowing that you could be facing them again when Game 5 rolls around.
If there is a Game 5 in this series, there is no reason Lester shouldn’t be starting. He threw the shutdown innings that were needed, and seems to understand the important, intense moments of the game. Lester restored the confidence of a lot of Boston fans, and seemed to morph back into the ace that everyone was hoping that he could be.
Do you hear that sound? It was all the chicken and beer jokes starting to be put away once and for all.