Jun 11, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) hands the ball over to manager John Farrell (53) as he is taken out of the game during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lester Drops Ball, Sox Fall 8-3

Jon Lester was not good and, as Steve Peterson writes here, it may be time to start worrying.

Jun 11, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) is congratulated by designated hitter David Ortiz (34) after scoring a run during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Boston actually struck first in this one. Jacoby Ellsbury kicked things off with a single and a steal, followed by a Shane Victorino single and a Dustin Pedroia sacrifice put the Sox up 1-0 after one. However, Lester was shaky, to say the least, right out of the gate. After a Desmond Jennings infield single, and two walks, Lester responded by walking James Loney to force in a run. Jennings scored the next Rays’ run as well, courtesy of a two out, solo shot in the second to give Tampa Bay the lead.

The Sox exacted some revenge in third as Jose Iglesias singled and took second on a fielder’s choice. Victorio pushed Ellsbury and Iglesias to second and third respectively with a sacrifice bunt. Then after an intentional walk to David Ortiz, Mike Napoli softly tapped a ball into center for a two-run single to hand Boston a 3-2 lead.

The Rays came right back though, as Ryan Roberts and Jose Molina both tagged RBI singles to give Tampa Bay back the lead, and they wouldn’t let it go.  Evan Longoria followed up with an opposite field solo shot in the fourth.

Lester’s night would unravel further in the fifth as he gave up two, one-out walks to Roberts and Molina. While Lester did manage to nail Roberts between second and third, Matt Joyce, fresh off his “brawl” with John Lackey, crushed a two run home run out of the number nine-hole. With that Lester’s night would be over having allowed seven runs on eight hits and seven walks in only 4.2 innings.

For those of you looking for the silver lining in all of this, look no further than Jose De La Torre. De La Torre did exactly what was asked of him, relieving an over worked bullpen and pitching 3.1 innings on the night.

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  • John Fahrer

    De La Torre looks more worthy of a rotation spot than Lester at this point.

    Time to really consider Cliff Lee.

  • Rick M

    What a dismal performance by a (supposedly) top of the rotation starter. This should have been as close to a lock game as you get in baseball but Lester never found his stuff. I realize Farrell had pitching limitations but Lester should have been in the clubhouse beginning of the 5th. Lester had a so so May and has started June like it was 2012 again.

    I am not a fan of mortgaging the future for Lee but performances like this can sway anyone.

    • John Fahrer

      I’m only for getting Lee if the package isn’t too depleting on our side. Of course there are certain guys I might be willing to part with pending on how the signing period goes (might be willing to part with Swihart if the club signs Jon Denney).

      The biggest acquisition the Phillies should be after in a deal for Lee is salary relief.