Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lester Back to Dominate Form in Shutout, Sox Sweep Jays

Jon Lester had his best outing of the year giving up only 2 hits and striking out 11 Blue Jay batters. He threw 119 pitches over 7 full innings.

The kid was awesome. All of his pitches were moving, biting and hitting spots in the zone.

Moved his cutter in and out, and used the change-up and curve for a ton of swing and miss strikes. Nothing rattled the lefty. When the Jays had runners on and were threatening, Lester was able to muscle his 95 mph fastball past swinging Jays batters.

Lester, who has had problems with walks this season, limited the base-on- balls to only 2 in this outing. A very good sign.

It went Lester for seven, Bard for one, then to Paps for the save (who has 7 saves in 7 opportunities). This is the kind of shutdown pitching we have come to expect from Lester and the power arms in the pen.

Lester dropped his ERA to 4.71.

The Jays lefty starter Brett Cecil stifled the Sox for 6 innings, but gave up a double to Darnell McDonald, who was later knocked in by Lil Shit on a sac fly for the first run of the game. McDonald has been consistently getting on base and contributing.

One thing to note about last night's game was the benching of Ortiz against another lefty starter. V-Mart was the DH and Varitek caught Lester. Is this the trend we should expect to see? Righty bats against lefty starters? Lowell made a number of DH appearances against lefty's and as a pinch hitter.

Ortiz and his lack of production is finding its way to the bench more often than not, as is Varitek behind the dish. It's been hard to ignore Tek's contribution to the offense, but I'm not confident it will sustain the season. I hope he proves me wrong.

With the sweep of Toronto, the Sox move ahead in the standings to third place behind that team from the Bronx and the Rays. Sox are back to .500 at 11-11 behind first place by 5.5 games. In the last 10 games, the Red Sox are 7-3 with a solid road record.

On to Camden in B-More where it will be so very nice to keep the winning-vibe flowing.

The key outing to watch this weekend against the O's will be the return of Dice-K on Saturday. A healthy and effective Matsuzaka could be a welcome distraction from the struggles of Josh Beckett and parts of the bullpen.

[Image by clareperretta via Flickr CC 3.0]