Meegan’s “HOT SEAT” Adrian Gonzalez and Jon Lester
Is there any hotter hitter on the planet than Adrian Gonzalez? After going 10 for 15 this weekend against the Cubs, Gonzalez raised his batting average up to .342. Gonzalez leads the American League in RBI’s and is second behind Jose Bautista in batting average. More importantly is how he has single handily carried this team from the bowels of the AL East to contenders in one short month. All Gonzalez has done is hit and hit and for good measure hit again. I don’t think I have ever seen a player of his caliber. For the past month, every time the Sox needed a big hit, he delivered. Gonzalez is also the slickest field first baseman around. I used to think Mark Teixeira was the best fielding first baseman, not anymore. I will admit, I knew he was good in San Diego, but he is absolutely ridiculous. Can you say MVP?
Jon Lester on the other hand has cooled off and this week has been placed on the “Hot Seat.” He hasn’t been bad, just not what we have grown accustomed to seeing from the powerful lefty. In his last three starts against the Jays, Yankees, and Cubs, Lester has allowed 14 earned runs. That is two more than he has allowed in his first seven games. He still leads the team with 6 wins, however his ERA has jumped up to 3.68. The last time Lester has pitched into the 7th inning was May 3 against the Angels. That is very unnerving, to say the least. He is expected to go deep into games, he is supposed to be an innings eater. That’s the definition of an Ace. The Cubs pounded out 12 hits against Lester on Friday night. That is the most hits he has allowed to any team this season. This team is getting better and better each day and they need to get more out of Lester, not less. He may have been awarded two wins out of his last three games but he certainly didn’t earn them. They were handed to him by some explosive offense. We finally have Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz on track. It would be icing on the cake if Lester can get back up to his potential.
Other “Hot(s)” to keep an eye on are Kevin Youkilis, whose seems to be getting into a groove, and Big Papi. Ortiz is providing power and his batting average is just below .300 at .299. Ortiz also slammed his 300th home run in a Red Sox uniform Sunday night. Big Papi is now ranked 5th amongst the all time home run leaders in Red Sox History. Jacoby Ellsbury also continues to flirt with .300 after a slow start and is tied for the AL lead in stolen bases with the Rangers, Elvis Andrus. Finally, keep and eye on Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty has blasted three home runs in the past four games.
On the flip side, these players have been struggling as of late. Jed Lowrie, we all knew he would come back down to earth. His batting average is still .319, but his fielding has been suspect. Daniel Bard and Matt Albers had one bad game each last week. Bard blew a two run lead against the Tigers and Albers was horrid in his last appearance against the Cubs. I expect Bard and Albers to return to form but I will be watching both of them closely in the upcoming week.
That’s all for this week. The Sox came so close to taking over first place over the weekend and they have their work cut out for them as they travel to Cleveland to face the surprising Indians.
Don’t you love games that have a playoff atmosphere in May?
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