Man, the Providence Journal sure is down on Lester this morning. A 6+ ERA to end May isn't pretty, but suggesting that Lester's facing a "lost season" at end of the May seems a little over the top. Not that I don't think there are problems: like Papelbon, Lester is not only giving up more walks, hits, and home runs per nine innings than he did last year, but his strikeout per nine and strikeout per walk ratios are the highest they've ever been in his short career. He may claim - as he did in the article that I linked to above - that concentration is not the issue, but it sounds like the opposite is true: like Papelbon, like Papi at the plate, I think Lester is concentrating far too much on making each pitch count. We should probably take comfort in the fact that he's talented enough to translate his extreme focus into more effective strikeout pitches, but if he's viewing every game as hanging on one bad pitch, he'll keep pitching like that's the case, to the detriment of his performance.
"Four people are sitting around a table, talking about baseball, five minutes of it, very dull. Suddenly a bomb goes off. Blows people to smithereens. What does the audience have? Ten seconds of shock." -Alfred Hitchcock