BOSTON (CBS) – If Pedro Martinez says Jon Lester is going to be OK, chances are the Red Sox lefthander is going to be OK.
After a red-hot start to the season, Lester has hit a wall over the last month — going 1-4 with a 7.38 ERA in his last seven starts. But Pedro said that Lester’s start to the season — going 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA through his first nine starts — is hard to do for an entire season.
“What I see is probably the signs that a very agitating first half will probably do good to a starting pitcher. When you start off so hot, you rarely go the whole season without a little setback on your performance. It’s really hard to maintain the level he was pitching on, but at the same time I think he’s right on course to recoup,” Martinez said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Tuesday morning. “I think he’ll do well; Lester is a hard-nosed worker and I know he’s very smart and very picky how he does things. I think his tempo on the mound affects him a little bit; he has a tendency to slow down a little bit and stops to think too much. Sometimes that takes a bite out of him.”
“I think he’ll be alright. No one can maintain that level he was pitching, not for a full season. Going into the All Star break is the perfect time for him to regroup and continue to do what he’s supposed to do after the first half,” said Martinez.
Pedro won 117 games in his seven years in Boston, and now finds himself back with the Red Sox as a special assistant to GM Ben Cherington.
“Lester is the closest thing to a perfect person. He wants to be perfect, wants to be the best he can be. He’s a great competitor. He gets a little frustrated sometimes when he knows he worked hard on something to get the result and he doesn’t. At the same time I think he’s going to be alright. I wouldn’t panic about Lester; he is healthy, he’s fine, and if he doesn’t find a way to correct it we’ll all share a little bit with him,” said Pedro, who is back with the Red Sox as a special assistant to GM Ben Cherington. “He’s going to study everything around him, every aspect of the game to get better. That’s why I’m not panicking, because I know Lester is a student of the game.”
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“I’ve been there, done that; I had my little struggles during the season. If you have time to correct it, you can end up having a great season and help your team as much as you can,” he said. “Even if you’re struggling, if you manage to be there for the team, sometimes it will click, somehow, and you get back into a roll and everything is going to be OK.”
Martinez was not only known for his dominating performances on the mound, but also his antics in the dugout. One time, he wore a Yoda mask to lighten the mood and spark a rally. Rich asked Martinez what his thought process was behind that, or if it was just a spur of the moment decision to get the team going.
“I saw this Yoda mask in my locker, and somehow we needed a rally. It was kind of cold that day and everybody was pessimistic about the game. Everybody needed a boost or to relax a little bit. I decided to surprise everybody,” he said. “Even though I was the only one that was 170 (pounds) I used Jim Corsi’s jersey… everybody started laughing and we ended up winning the game and having a blast, and the Yoda mask is stuck with us.”