Isn't it weird to be relieved that the Sox are out of Tropicana Field and playing in Yankee Stadium. How the mighty have fallen, and how the weak have risen.
Jon Lester smothered the Yankee lineup last night, earning a complete game shutout win, and snapping the team's 5 game losing streak. It's the 2nd shutout of the season for Lester. The last Red Sox pitcher to record multiple shutouts in a season was...
If you guessed Pedro Martinez, you're wrong. In 2001, Hideo Nomo pitched 2 shutouts. Pedro had 4 in 2000.
Lester's been somewhat of a savior for this team. Beckett has had ups and downs, Wakefield goes through his bipolar stretches, Matsuzaka can't get into the 6th inning, Colon is out of shape, and Schilling isn't coming. Lester leads Red Sox starters in ERA (3.21), innings (117.2), and starts (19).
He's been able to keep two things down: his pitch count, and the baseball.
Here are Jon Lester's pitch count stats from the last three seasons:
|Year:||Pitches Per Inning:|
What's really helped Lester keep his pitch count down has been fewer walks, more groundball outs, and yes... fewer strikeouts. He's striking out batters less often compared to 2006 and 2007, but his strikeout to walk ratio has actually gone up because his walks have been so dramatically reduced.
Getting groundball outs has been huge for Lester. He's already induced 15 double plays, the 6th most in the Majors. Here's a look at the groundball to flyball ratio in his career:
Lester hasn't even allowed a sacrifice fly.
Back to last night's 7-0 victory over New York. It was nice to finally see the entire lineup producing at once. Every starter had a hit except Lugo. But he had a sac-fly. Even Varitek got a single in the 8th, ending that painful hitless streak.
The return of Coco Crisp shouldn't be overlooked. He hit .310 in June and returned to the lineup with a 2 for 3 night.
Josh Beckett pitches against Darrell Rasner this afternoon at 1:00 (Eastern). Beckett's only allowed 4 runs in his last 26 innings, but only has one Win to show for it.
AP Photo/Kathy Willens