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BOSTON (CBS) – Jon Lester had eight days off between his loss against the New York Yankees prior to the all-star break and Tuesday night’s start against the White Sox.
The long break was meant to get the struggling pitcher’s head straight. But Lester struggled mightily again, lasting just four innings as the White Sox beat Boston 7-5.
“It’s been a frustrating year and it was a frustrating night,” the Red Sox lefty said after picking up his seventh loss of the season. “It keeps adding on and I’m getting tired of it. I try to make adjustments and try to do the things I need to do and I’m just not getting results.”
And as it turned out, the extra couple days off didn’t do much.
“It’s still a loss,” said Lester, adding it felt like any other start for him. “It doesn’t matter if you rest or not, a loss is a loss. It sucks.”
Lester struggled from the get-go, allowing two more first inning runs. He’s now allowed at least a run in the first inning in each of his last four starts.
Boston was able to get the runs back in the bottom of the first, but Chicago tagged Lester for another in the top of the second. The knockout blow came off the bat of former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who took Lester deep for a three-run home run in the fourth inning.
“It was a 3-2 fastball. Youk’s a good hitter and we’ve all seen him for a long time do what he did,” he said. “It was bad location, bad spot, bad time and all the above.”
“It was a frustrating night for Jon,” said manager Bobby Valentine. “After he gave up the two in the first and then we came back, I really thought he would be able to settle down and get us a victory. But his control wasn’t there. I don’t know if it was the long layoff or what, the walks are really uncommon for him.”
“When the ball’s leaving my hand I’m not in the part of the zone that I need to be. I’m up a little bit,” said Lester. “I don’t know what it is. I’ve just got to keep throwing the ball. It’ll turn.”
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The final line for Lester looked like the majority of his starts this season: four innings, seven hits, six runs and three walks. It was the fifth time this season he’s lasted five innings or less, something he did just four times in 31 starts last season.
Lester is now 5-7 with a 4.80 ERA for the season. Its been a frustrating season for the 28-year-old, but he will try and move on; forgetting the 19 starts he’s made and just focusing on the next one.
“That’s the way I’ve been my whole career,” he said. “After I leave this clubhouse tonight, it’ll be all about my next start. I’m not worried about tonight, I’ve just got to move on and focus on when I pitched next and try to get the ball down and get as many outs and save this bullpen a little bit. It’s all I can control.”