In a game last week, the Boston Red Sox were in a way accused of not showing up and playing a Spring Training game against the Miami Marlins. Today, against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox were very much present and accounted for. On this day, led by ace Jon Lester, Boston showed up in a big way and set the tone for the regular season. Could this be the year that Lester also reaches that Cy Young level?
For his 2014 Spring Training debut, Lester came out firing on all cylinders. He tossed three scoreless innings allowing only one hit, one walk and struck out four against the AL East foe. With Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy starting off the year with some uncertainty in the health department, Boston will need their ace lefty to dazzle like it is the month of October all season long.
Lester is becoming a pitcher with a dominate track record in the postseason and World Series specifically. He is a lights-out 3-0 in three Fall Classic starts, giving up only a single run. Lester will need to duplicate those types of quality starts all season long for the defending champions.
Somewhat surprisingly, Lester has only finished in the top five of Cy Young voting once. Back in 2010, he finished fourth in the voting, which was also the last season he was under the guidance of John Farrell before his brief departure north of the border. Now with the two reunited, Lester appears to be more confident than ever, and it feels so good for Red Sox Nation.
With a more focused approach, the two-time champion is rounding into ace form. Lester will become a free agent after this season, which also creates all the more motivation to pump out a Cy Young-worthy campaign. Boston will surely be looking to lock up the lefty, but for now they will just look for Lester to flip the switch every fifth day on the way to more October baseball and a possibly Cy Young season.
Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.