The fact that Jon Lester has a 4-5 record so far in the 2014 season is a tragedy. The man deserves much better, and his Boston Red Sox teammates are the ones to blame.
This isn’t an instance where Lester isn’t keeping his teammates in the game — it’s the opposite. The Red Sox aren’t doing enough to get Lester these much-deserved wins. In nine starts that he has pitched, he’s given up a grand total of 18 runs. Do some quick math, and he’s averaged two runs per start. That is more than enough to keep the Red Sox in every game, so the fact that Lester is 4-5 on the year is atrocious.
The Red Sox are currently giving Lester a whopping 2.92 runs of support per game. In the AL East, that’s not going to win you many games. Add on the fact that Lester is their most reliable pitcher, this quickly becomes a formula for disaster.
The Red Sox rotation is one that isn’t very consistent at this time. With the exception of John Lackey, his teammates Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront and Clay Buchholz aren’t exactly starters you’re counting on for automatic wins. With that being said, the games that Lester starts are almost at the point of must-wins.
The win/loss record is one of the most deceiving stats in baseball. It’s a stat that will almost always be up for debate, and Lester is a great example of this. To the average casual fan, they could look at this 4-5 record and say, “Wow, Lester is having a tough year so far.” In reality, it’s anything but that.
His strikeouts to walk ratio is fantastic at a 73:16. Last year at this time, he was looking at a 50/15 ratio. He’s only allowed three home runs thus far, which is just in line with where he was last year. Everything is where it should be, but a 4-5 record would never showcase that. Here’s the biggest difference: last year, Lester was 6-0 after nine starts, just like he should be this year — or maybe even better.
Don’t forget the pink elephant in the room either. Lester is set to test the free agent market barring a mid-season signing by the Red Sox. So until a signature reading Jon Lester is on a new contract, he has so much more to prove not only to the Red Sox, but the entire sport of baseball.
This could well be the final big contract the 30-year-old will land, so he’s going to look to cash in on this terrific season. The Red Sox offense should also be looking to cash in, not with a contract, but with some Ws with Lester leading the way.