I know it. You know it. Jon Lester knows it. His start last night was the exact opposite of the start the Red Sox needed from him. The bigger question, as always, is what that bad start means.
Maybe he got caught in a buzz saw. After all, the Rays had managed to put up some runs the night before. Maybe he just couldn’t feel it last night. Maybe he’s hurt. Maybe he just choked. Maybe it’s all of those things. Maybe it’s just the sort of thing you should expect from an ace that’s not Pedro Martinez.
Lester currently sits at 6-3. Project it out, and you’re looking somewhere around 14-16 wins. That’s about where he’s been his whole career. Sure it’s maddening that he started 6-0, and has been 0-3 since. But, with all the people screaming about Jose Iglesias’s small sample size, everyone seems ready to jump on Lester for five mediocre starts. Lester has also hit a stretch where the teams he’s facing are better than not. Sure, an ace is supposed to beat the good teams. But, he’s not necessarily supposed to dominate them. He’s supposed to dominate the weaker teams to offset his numbers from the better teams. It’s just the way it works.
Are we just still unsure of Lester? It amazes me when the guy gives up a run in the first inning, Twitter goes crazy. “There he goes again!” “Why is he so inconsistent?” So, now the guy’s not allowed to give up a run? I’ve said it before. I’ll take it as a very good sign that people are so upset over giving up a run. It must mean he’s pretty good.
So, I seem to say this a lot, but I’m not going to get crazy over a little slump. Lester may have to work out some mechanical problems he has at the moment. But, he’s obviously shown he’s capable of doing just that. He’s shown that recently.
When does Lester get the benefit of the doubt?