If there is one thing that has showcased just how inconsistent the Red Sox have been out of the gate, it has been the pitching of ace Jon Lester. At 28-years-old, Lester should be coming into his prime and putting aside the slow starts that have plagued him over the years. However, he fell right back into the same old rut when he stumbled out of the gate in 2012. With a 3-4 record and an abysmal 4.72 ERA, Lester has looked far from the Cy Young candidate that he should be with his stuff.
Fans want to know just one thing; when will the real Jon Lester step up?
Lester's fortunes have mirrored those of the Red Sox themselves, inconsistencies and all. For every two quality starts, Lester has come back with two rotten outings, accounting for a putrid 50% quality start percentage over his first 10 starts on the season.
Fans who have watched enough of Lester this season can point to his inability to put hitters away with two-strikes as the biggest culprit in his struggles. His 15.8% strike-outs percentage, 6.0 strike-outs per nine innings pitched, and 1.86 strike-out per walk ratio would all represents career-worst marks.
Needless to say, Jon Lester has not pitched much like a staff ace, but unlike the struggles of Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard, the Red Sox will need to weather Lester's and hope that he turns it around. His struggles are just exasperated by the lofty expectations that he puts on himself and that fans in turn place on him as well.
Still, if history has taught us anything about Jon Lester, it is that once the rust of winter is shaken off, he becomes a completely different pitcher. Over the course of his career, the months of June and July have been very kind to Lester, as he has a combined mark of 26-9 with an ERA of 2.76 over the course of 49 career starts. As the season heats up, so does Jon Lester.
If the Red Sox are going to have any hope of turning this mess around, Lester is going to have to get an early start of that turnaround and jump into that June rhythm a few days earlier, as he is scheduled for his next start on Wednesday against Detroit.
The Red Sox do not have much more time to determine if they are part of the picture or part of the background, and Jon Lester will have a big say that matter.
Jon Lester, Baseball-Reference.com
Jon Lester Splits, Baseball-Reference.com
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