Tagged: Jon Lester

Jedding Ahead

In 2008, Jed Lowrie set a Major League Record, one of those quiet records that doesn’t splash across the screen or on the ESPN news ticker. It’s in the fine print, where some fans might easily forget–or tucked in the details some of us without the right reading glasses might not bother to squint for, the lower footnote.

In 155 total chances, Lowrie did not record an error at shortstop. After the divorce with Nomar (followed by a retirement reconciliation of course), we might consider how important Jed is to the future of the Sox. The episode, a long battle in fact, with mono last year is over.One of the more impressive performances last night, excluding the brilliant pitching of Lester for all innings except one, was turned in by Lowrie. If I want to remember the game, I don’t have to try to recall the look on his face as he tore through first base on his way to double off Price.

With some recent growth on his face, Jed looked tougher than any other moment he has played on the Sox. As he offered some academic advice for a complaining Price, Lowrie exhibited the intensity we have been missing. Finally. Finally the Sox look ready to grind it out. Youk(no surprise there), joined Lowrie on the panel, screaming at Price then encouraging Lowrie.

Mr. Crawford, are you listening? Take notes. Chin up, sir. Chin up!– the same chin on which you might free up for some shadows, lending yourself to the biting, angular intensity missing on the field.

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Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag

Following a stretch (0-4 in the last month) none of us imagined, Doc Lester brought a whole new bag of prescriptions to aid not only the “struggling” Sox but also the mess of blues-riddled fans like me. There are very few times this season when we have seen this kind of pitching, where our best bullpen lights-out combo did exactly that, and at Yankee Stadium against a fearsome lineup. When Teixeira hit that bomb into the second level on a 96.5  fastball (to be precise),  I thought . . .1) here we go again 2) I am going to lose my lunch and 3) we should have signed Mark.The home run analysts of the All-Star Home Run Derby explained that home runs are produced by bat speed, mostly, and not by pitch speed. When I see a shot like that, I have to manufacture a false degree in Physics and say, well, you guys are wrong. Alas, I stray off-track.

Back to the 0-4 stretch. Lester had 30 strikeouts over those four games and over the last five, he mastered 36. We also know that the Sox batters offered a meager 9 runs over those four games. With numbers that our bats have sprung this season, another highly unusual result. Perhaps a relatively smaller anomaly was Lester’s pitch count, 115 or higher three games in a row. The only time that has happened this season.  Now then, I contradict myself with this entry’s title. There were some new things, one of which was luck in our favor. Yes, Lester was sharper against a great lineup, but many other factors fell perfectly into place. Two central characters in our bullpen drama made us believers yesterday. Imagine if the Bard-Pap combo could be executed daily. Back to reality. Why did we ever let Wagner go away? To make room for Oki-jokey? I know I missed something there.

Finally, back to what matters most. A win against the Yankees and, oh yes, Lester is a new dad. Most sincerely, I offer my congrats to Jon & Farrah and hope that baby Hudson starts throwing soon. Being the competitor Jon is, I know there is another baby he wants to hold onto again, no matter the odds.

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More than Pulling Through

IMG_0681 (Medium).JPGAs mentioned yesterday, it takes more than one person to get through the damage. Unless that one person is Jonathan Lester. As the duo of Clay & Lester have done all season, they are the calming and cooling agents. Of course with Clay’s black and blue leg, he is joining the shaken and beat up clan.

The exact 7.0 Richter scale measure of the Loma Prieta quake was something we could understand, but it’s effects and aftershocks were much less certain.One aftershock, a  5.0 six months later woke me up out of deep sleep. I decided then that I would rather have a quake strike in the waking hours.

I might suggest that with all the injuries over the weekend that we never return to the city by the bay. But if you check out our numbers against National League opponents, this inter-league thing is more than fruitful for the Sox. They say Cy Young winner of the National League, we say a win. My bet was on Lester yesterday; my only regret is that I didn’t call a bookie.

As we head back to Fenway, Martinez’s thumb increases our worry. But imagine coming out of San Francisco having lost three straight. The Monday morning blues might have been the darkest of the season.It’s pretty hot outside here in Asbury Park. The dogs on leashes look a bit slower.But I am hoping the other heat, the Red Sox kind, continues when we face Tampa. Let’s dispose of the three-way race and make the second half battle much clearer. We’ve already climbed out of the rubble of April & May.

GO SOX!

photo by thomasox

Better Than a Swimming Pool: Ice Cream Men Deliver

According to Formosa & Hamburger, in their Baseball Field Guide, there are no rules when it comes to caps. Even more significant is the fact that the rules don’t even mention them(47). As the Red Sox were breaking other rules in the world of fashion, they smoked to a another win, even though it was awkward at first.Even with the walks, the Red Sox got 7 innings of Lesteration* Throughout the first three innings, he was uncomfortable and clearly frustrated with himself. I blame the new hat –It seemed to slip down further on his head, pressing on the ears. Even with its CoolBase technology,something wasn’t right.No worries–they have to wear them only two more times this season. But before we send the entire team off to an episode of What Not to Wear, there are a few things to keep in mind.

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This is a Baseball blog, right? So I can have some fun here. It began with Professor Abraham mentioning Tito’s comments on the Extra Bases blog. We can just wear flag patches instead of these “dumb-***” hats, but MLB can’t sell patches, he said in so many words. Several of the reader comments were hysterical. We should mention that MLB will donate $1 to the Welcome Back Veterans Fund. A whole one dollar? I digress, but maybe the bill with Abe Lincoln’s face is more appropriate, on many levels. Then I wouldn’t hesitate at all

About the image above.(Photo Courtesy:Greg Peterson) As I watched the game, I kept wondering why I was having flashbacks to the turn of the century, and not the one we saw in our relatively recent past. Hugh Bedient wore a white hat, as did the whole Red Sox team.The unofficial American League Rookie of the year(20-9, 2.92) in 1912, his career ended after he was drafted for World War 1.In Honor of Bedient, and many others of course, I just added yesterday’s hat to my shopping cart. Go ahead, laugh all you want. My lovely girlfriend has even chimed in, adding that I will look like I just retired and moved to West Palm Beach. Hell, frivolity is part of the game. Enjoy, Baseball friends. Happy Memorial Day.

*Lesteration
lester-a-tion, (less-ter-ey-shuhn)

-noun

1) feeling associated with victory, provided by Jon Lester, usually following a win delivered by Clay Buchholz

2) the act of lesterating

3) grit and grace under pressure, even while wearing a silly hat at which your fans and beat writers are poking fun.

Origin: May 30, 2010, Boston, MA, USA, Fenway Park

Synonyms
1. Jollity, exhilaration, hillarity after sweating it out.


Appendix:

You already know the 1908 uniform. Yesterday could have been much worse, as the fans in the stands would have been waiting for Lester & Co to cook some afternoon BBQ.

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Dice-Maze

27-dicek.pngOn May 26th, fellow Paisan (redundancy intended), Tony Massarotti, wrote, “[t]hough nothing is ever guaranteed in baseball, there is every reason to believe Lester has turned the corner for good.” Can I get a second motion on that? There’s a third motion and millions more. That was easy–nothing else seems as true when thinking about our pitching. I will repeat what Tony repeated: “Jon Lester has the highest career winning percentage of all ALL-TIME after 100 starts. ALL-TIME. If we start to doubt and get caught up in the Dice-Maze, we can rest assured with Lester, who clears us out of the rotational maze.

So what do we do about Dice-K, who made headlines today for all the reasons opposite his last start in Philly. Didn’t he make it look so easy, and against one of the toughest line-ups in baseball? When things are going well for any Major League player, it always looks effortless and natural. I have been watching baseball for 86 percent of my life, but I can’t pretend to know what the heck Dice-K is doing out there when he is that wild. As I tried to follow the Twitter feed(ing) frenzy during the first five innings last night, there were hundreds of ideas, but equal parts cheering and woes. It’s sort of like sitting in a room with a bunch of fans. Sort of.

I went to the bookstore after Bill Hall’s home run, which did, in fact, look quite effortless. When his balance falls on his back leg, he looks as though he can hit 50 at will.
I bought  Doug Glanville’s The Game From Where I Stand. “[M]ost of us have only a dim understanding of the lives of major league players–until now,” the book jacket says. That phrase alone has kept me thinking about Dice-K and the mysteries therein. Will the next start be another strong one, alternating each time? Perhaps more importantly, what does he need to be nearly unhittable? Is it personal, cultural, Fenwayal? I return to the moment one Japanese reported revealed at Yankee Stadium. He had never, throughout Dice-K’s entire career seen him so mystified and emotional trying to answer questions, as “though he was about to burst into tears.”

PS. In the voodoo corner, I forgot to put the dice that came with my pack of playing cards out on the desk, as I did for the last start. I won’t forget next time.

Endnotes:
In imitation of Professor Peter Abraham at the Globe, I will report “on the Ipod right now”–
West Country Girl by Nick Cave and Bad Seeds.

AP PHOTO BY CAMERON SMITH