BOSTON (CBS) – With all the focus on the Patriots and Bill Belichick on this Wednesday(and rightly so), I want to go back to the Red Sox just for a bit.
Amongst all the hoopla surrounding Dustin Pedroia’s seven-year, $100-million contact extension and Clay Buchholz’s visit to Dr Andrews, one can’t overlook what Jon Lester did on the mound Tuesday night.
Lester’s two run, seven hit, eight strikeout performance against the Tampa Bay Rays looked like a statement start.
There was no nibbling, no complaining — nothing but pitching. He went right after Tampa’s sluggers with some “here it comes, hit it if you can” pitching.
It came at the perfect time too.
I was wondering what John Farrell (and pitching coach Juan Nieves to some extent) could do to turn Lester’s fortunes around. After all, that was arguably the biggest reason why Farrell was brought in here, wasn’t it? Farrell knows Lester –physically and mentally — better than all of us. Whether it be tweaking the delivery, setting up the hands, using the legs more, being aggressive even if you give up some hits and so on, that’s all stuff I want to see and hear about when it comes to the Farrell-Lester relationship.
From here on out I would look to give Lester as much time off as possible between starts. He was given a few extra days out of the All-Star break, and it paid dividends on Tuesday night. He’s a big kid and a leg drive pitcher; the more rest he gets, the more powerful he should be.
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If the Sox can continue to stay afloat until Ben Cherington goes out and gets some starting depth and/or the likes of Brandon Workman and others from down below help until Clay Buchholz returns, this team has a chance to be special. A chance.
So while we focus on other things Sox and the return of football in New England, give pause and thanks for what you saw on Tuesday night at Fenway. It might just be the key to making a fun summer into a fabulous fall.
Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.