“Am I supposed to win 25 games every year? It’s not possible.”
- Jon Lester on WEEI with Rob Bradford
No, Mr. Lester, 25 games a year is not expected. How about 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA and a league-best 9.75 strikeouts per nine innings as happened in 2011? How about not being like you were last year when you were 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA and not only looked atrocious doing it but sounded that way as well. It is in turn of fortune and attitude that lies the difference for Jon Lester.
Buttressed by 2009 and 2010 campaigns in which he went a combined 31-14 with a 3.31 ERA Lester was on a three-year tear, ready to join the ranks of elite MLB pitchers. Then the team collapse of 2011 down the stretch, in which Lester played a lead role, happened. In September 2011 Lester went 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA and was implicated along with a number of Red Sox clubhouse pirates in the chicken and beer kerfuffle.
The end of 2011 and the 2012 season are ancient history. Hope springs eternal and Red Sox Nation looks forward with a renewed sense of vigor buoyed by a hard-fought, savvy offseason of negotiation. Yet here we are on the first day of spring training and Jon Lester is at it again, putting more energy in to what has been written about him than concentrating on being the best pitcher he can be one pitch at a time.
I honestly can’t understand what has gotten into this man. Once a pillar of professionalism and guts, Lester has grown a thin skin, big ears, bigger mouth and a surly attitude worthy of Josh Beckett.
I subscribe without reserve to the main thrust of Kirk Minihane’s recent excellent piece about Lester on WEEI.com. Minihane writes: “Instead of Lester just confirming the obvious — last year was the worst by far of his career — and promising every effort to have the best season of his career in 2013, we get another pity party, another buffet of excuses, more tossing under the bus. Quality starts? Well, how about the 13 starts with at least four runs allowed? Couldn’t control that? How about 11 runs in four innings against the Blue Jays on July 22, or seven runs in two innings vs. the Rangers on April 17? Was that someone else’s fault?”
Touche´Kirk. Jon Lester, are you listening to this?
You only get one hit, that’s the beauty of it,
What’s the good in crying?
It’s always been that way, at the end of the day,
You gotta keep on trying.
Life’s a one take movie and I don’t care what it means,
I’m saving up my tears for the crying scene.
- The Crying Scene, Aztec Camera