At least through two starts of the 2013 spring training season it appears that the Jon Lester of 2010 may be emerging. OK, so let’s nitpick and for argument’s sake say that 5 innings pitched, a 2-0 record and an 0.00 ERA, one walk and three strike outs is meaningless. Now let’s look at 2012. Lester was 2-1 during the entirety of spring training last season with a 3.50 ERA, 7 walks and 14 Ks.
While the jury is still out, if you extrapolate the numbers, Lester’s 2012 campaign is telling in that his spring season arguably became his regular season: 9-14, 4.28 ERA, 68 walks and 166 strike outs with a 1.38 WHIP, right behind Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz at number 15 on the staff.
Like any spring training record, Lester’s numbers are helped immeasurably by the rest of the staff since he only gets 2-4 innings of work each time out, which is another good sign for Red Sox fans (even though the Yankees thumped Boston 5-1 Sunday afternoon, primarily thanks to to two Drew Sutton errors). Red Sox pitchers are actually pitching this spring.
More importantly, Lester appears more at ease again this year. There have been no signs of his early inning loss of control and resulting blow ups. He has been solid and focused. In Lester’s last out against the Pirates, he fired three shutout innings, walking one and striking out two. That’s the definition of crisp kids. Welcome back John Farrell.
“I was able to do the same things that we talked about early on — staying tall, driving the ball downhill, and I was able to do that tonight,” Lester told MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “And I was able to mix in a few other pitches. I threw one, maybe two changeups, a couple of curveballs and a couple of cutters. It was nice to break them all out and get good results. It’s always nice when you’re working on things to get good results.”
When you don’t get good results or get the close call that you really needed, remember John Farrell’s words: “be professional.” It seems a culture of professionalism is once again taking root in Boston.