Man, oh, man, we just got seriously one-upped in pretty much every way. I mean, Lester got absolutely shelled. He’s had much more than his fair share of bad starts this year, but he got shelled. It wasn’t pretty. He didn’t really do much of anything right. You know it’s bad when your run total is amply enough for the team to win and yet somehow you still lose. It was ugly, ugly, ugly.
Lester gave up eleven runs on nine hits over the course of only four innings. No pitcher from this team has given up eleven earned runs in a single start since Doug Bird did it in 1983. Seriously. Not even Dice-K on his worst day. Lester walked five and struck out two; clearly there is something fundamentally wrong with that ratio. He gave up four home runs.
There was a solo shot to lead off the game (literally, because it was on the first pitch Lester fired, which was a sinker), and then a walk and a single and a double that scored one, a groundout that scored another, and a double that scored another. Then there was a strikeout, and then there was a sac bunt that scored one. So that’s a grand total of five runs in the first inning alone.
We got three of them back in the bottom of the inning using a similar strategy. Ellsbury singled, Nava grounded out and moved him to second, and then Pedroia singled to put runners at the corners. Ultimately it didn’t matter where the runners were standing because Gonzalez fouled two fastballs off before hitting the third out to right center field for a three-run shot, thereby reducing our deficit to two runs with one swing of the bat.
So at the time it was easy to think that maybe Lester just had a really, really, really bad first inning but would settle down after that. But it turned out that if you thought that, you couldn’t have been more wrong. Lester opened the second with a five-pitch walk, secured the inning’s first two outs, then allowed another walk and then another home run, this one on a changeup. And it was followed, of course, by a solo shot on a cut fastball that clearly didn’t really cut, which was more or less the theme of the day for Lester. He had a one-two-three inning in the third and allowed a single and a walk in the fourth but managed to conclude it without further damage. In the bottom of the inning, with one out and the bases loaded thanks to two singles and a walk, the only thing that Aviles came up with was a sac fly that brought in one.
Lester came out to pitch the fifth, and in so doing allowed a walk followed by his fourth and final home run on another completely ineffective cut fastball. Ellsbury led off the fifth with a solo shot on his fourth pitch, also a fastball.
Basically he had no command, no control, no effective pitches, no good grasp of the strike zone, no efficiency, and no ability to not make mistakes and to shut the door. After the epic embarrassment and humiliation that was Lester’s start, Tazawa came on and got us through the rest of the fifth as well as the sixth and seventh.
With two out in the bottom of the sixth, Sweeney doubled and scored on a double by Aviles, who scored on a single by Punto. Those were the last runs we scored yesterday. Unfortunately, the Jays still were not finished. Melancon came on to pitch the eighth and gave up four straight singles, if you can believe it, the last one scoring two runs. Then he gave up a sac fly that scored one more. Then he gave up two more singles followed by another sac fly.
So the final score was 15-7. They scored more than twice as many runs as we did, and they had exactly twice as many hits as we did (they had eighteen, and we had nine). They had three times the multi-hit games that we did (they had six, and we had two), not to mention twice the home runs.
There is absolutely no doubt that this was the worst start of Lester’s entire career thus far, and I sincerely hope that this is the worst it’s ever going to get so that the only place he can go from here is up. It was painful, it was crushing, it was humiliating, and it was completely undignified. It was horrible. And we are now at .500 yet again. This one’s on Lester. There should be no reason in the world why a team that scores seven runs should lose, especially not by a deficit more than that total. I don’t even know what to think about this.
Read Full Post »