Jon Lester Tries To Break Out Of Early-Season Slump Against Hometown Mariners
The Boston Red Sox sit comfortably at 21-14, despite no consistency from their top two starters. Jon Lester is one of them, as his first full season under the scope of high expectations has been rough to say the least. But the Boston Red Sox No.2 starter will take the mound Friday as he continues to try and get back on track against the Seattle Mariners.
Born and raised in Puyallap, Wash., Lester usually treats starts at Seattle like a home-coming party. But this time, he’s only concerned with fixing what has been a disappointing season thus far. Lester is 2-3 with a 6.31 ERA, despite three quality starts.
Strikeouts haven’t been a problem so far, with 33 in 30 innings and ten against the Yankees two starts ago. Lester’s biggest problems so far have been high pitch counts and propensity to allow big innings.
In two starts against the Rays, Lester allowed two huge innings- four in the fifth inning of his first start of the season and six in the fifth inning of his most recent start, in which he allowed eight runs on ten hits in four-and-a-third innings. The Athletics scored five runs in the second inning of his second start at Oakland.
Lester is frustrated, because he feels he’s throwing well but it’s just not going his way. Right now, he’s determined to simply maintain focus and keep executing.
“I threw a lot of good pitches that game that got hit through the hole and there’s not a lot I can do about it,” Lester told Ian Browne of RedSox.com. “Like I said after the game, it’s frustrating and I’m getting tired of saying I’m tipping my hat to good hitting. That’s the way baseball is. It doesn’t seem to be going my way right now and I just have to put that aside and try to execute as many pitches as I can and hopefully it will eventually turn around.”
In his only start against the Mariners at SafeCo Field in 2008, Lester went seven-and-a-third shutout innings, striking out six on 103 pitches and earning the win. He is 1-0 with a 4.67 in his career against Seattle.
Seattle starter Chris Jakubauskas has not had any better of a season than Lester in 2009. He is 1-4 with a 7.67 ERA and is coming off his worst start of the season against Minnesota where he allowed nine runs in four-and-a-third innings.
Still, Jakubauskas was only slightly worse than Lester in his last start. Both pitchers will likely rebound from their last outing, but the first one to struggle will likely come out of this game empty-handed.
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