Jon Lester did not get the win on Tuesday night when Boston beat the New York Yankees, but he did ink his name into the Red Sox record books. Lester broke Bruce Hurst’s club record of most strikeouts in franchise history by a lefthander when he struck out his 1,044th batter over his career, edging Hurst’s previous mark of 1,043. And Lester did it in pitching style by striking out the side, albeit there was a Russell Martin double in there but let’s not that take away from Lester’s shining moment.
Hurst last appeared in a Sox uniform in 1988 where he collected the previous record setting K. In total, Hurst played nine seasons in Boston and pitched in 1,459 innings while facing 6,264 batters before fanning his 1,034 victim. Lester accomplished the feat in a much shorter time span with this being his seventh season in a Sox uniform. To date he’s worked in 1,138 innings while facing 4,795 batters making his record breaking night even more impressive.
While Hurst is a Hall of Fame pitcher who played in the majors for fifteen seasons, it’s too early to peg Lester in that same category. But this much we do know. Given how well he’s performed through his first seven seasons, this rough year included, if he can continue on his winning percentage pace of .654, we will be discussing which ballot Lester is likely to get inducted on. Granted that is well over a decade away, for the time being, we will savor watching this small milestone as it’s been one of the few bright spots for Lester on a down year. He’s been better of late which is promising for next year. After all, that’s all we have left for this season, is looking forward to next year.