BOSTON (CBS) — Jon Lester pitched to A.J. Pierzynski on Thursday for just the third time in the lefty’s 10 starts this season. The results were ugly.
Lester was shelled for seven runs in the opening two innings in what was eventually a 7-2 loss. Lester was able to keep the Blue Jays off the scoreboard for the 4 1/3 innings that followed, but the damage was clearly done.
Based on their lack of work together, Pierzynski was asked after the game if there was unfamiliarity with Lester that played a factor. The veteran catcher seemed to take offense to the suggestion.
“Nope,” Pierzynski stated flatly, cutting off a reporter after hearing the word “unfamiliarity.”
After a brief pause, Pierzynski continued.
“I’m not answering that question anymore,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. You guys keep bringing that up, but Jon and I had the first … opening day, we did well together. And today was just one of those days that things didn’t work out. It had nothing to do with me catching. You guys can say that all you want, but it had nothing to do with that.”
Pierzynski’s belief is clear, but the numbers do tell a different story.
When pitching to David Ross, Lester owns a 2.39 ERA in seven starts. Opponents hit just .194 against him, and he’s posted a 5.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lester’s allowed one home run for every 24 2/3 innings pitched to Ross.
When pitching to Pierzynski, Lester owns a 6.00 ERA in three starts. Opponents have hit .355 against him, and he’s posted just a 2.57 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lester’s allowed one home run for every six innings pitched to Pierzynski.
Coincidence? Pierzynski seemed to think so.
“I think he just missed some spots,” Pierzynski said of Lester, “and [the Blue Jays are] hot right now. So missed spots against these guys, and they’re gonna whack it. … He made some good pitches and they got hits, that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Lester, for his part, accepted all the blame, simply saying he needs to make better pitches. But as the numbers suggesting Lester and Pierzynski are a bad match continue to pile up, manager John Farrell is going to have to reconsider his stance against pitchers having personal catchers.
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