First off, I totally agree with Aaron that the Sox are poised to get hot. I think they play to the level of the other team a lot, which sucks when the other team sucks and is great when you're taking two of three from a team like Detroit or the hated ones.
Being a lifer, I have to bring up something less than positive though. Anyone else not feeling so great about Lester? I mean if he wasn't pegged as 'the guy' wouldn't we all be questioning him a lot more? Really, he's had one start where he made it past the 6th inning. One. And it was against the (sometimes-not-so) hapless Royals at Fenway. It's really the only start where he dominated.
His first string of wins were really shaky and easily could have gone the other way with one squeaker past the infield. People keep saying he gets out of a lot of jams. That's great, but what it really means is that he gets in a lot of jams. Watching the first few innings yesterday was painful. In the first he was very lucky to get away with only one run. And watching him give up the 4-1 lead in the second after the Lowell grand salami was brutal. I'm on pins and needles whenever he pitches. We were lucky that the mighty sox offense pulled through yesterday because that game was this close to getting away from us. It was a "win" for Lester yesterday, but that had to be the shakiest of all his shaky wins. I'm getting the jitters just writing about it.
On the flip-side he is 22. And I do think he has the potential to be a great pitcher. The potential. He ain't there yet. I'm surprised cranky sox fans haven't been coming down on him more, but I think it's just a symptom of the way we all fall in love with these prospects that you keep hearing about when they're still in the minors. I remember being totally bummed that Hanley Ramirez got traded and I had never seen the guy play a full game.
Back to Lester. His stuff just doesn't seem that great. Eck keeps saying his fastball doesn't have the life that you would expect. It certainly doesn't have that Papelbon action. Very nervous to see how he pulls through in September/October considering he's never pitched in a season this long. I can imagine a scenario where Lester comes into his own at the end of the season. And through the playoffs. Here's hoping that he is able to step it up and that I have to eat the above stated words...it's not like we have any other options.
Anyway, I'm very excited for these next two series and I think we will be back in sole possession of first place by the time the yankees leave town.
PS Wouldn't you like to see someone like Abe Alvarez up here, rather than watch another Jason Johnson start? What's up with that?
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