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Home » September 2009 Game CommentsSeptember 2009 » Left


Game 142: September 13, 2009
L: James Shields (9-11)
72-71, 11 game losing streak
WinRed Sox4
W: Jon Lester (13-7)
84-58, 5 game winning streak
Highlights: Not to be outdone by Clay Buchholz, Lester twirled eight shutout innings to sweep the Rays out of Fenway and, most likely, out of the Wild Card chase.

J.D. Drew led off the second with a six-pitch walk. David Ortiz nearly tripled to right to plate Drew but his fly ball to right somehow sprung out of the park for a ground-rule double. Mike Lowell’s RBI ground out drove in the local nine’s first run.

Jon Lester only needed that single run. The southpaw allowed two singles and three walks while striking out seven. Since he pitches in the shadow of Josh Beckett and doesn’t have the sexy win total of C.C. Sabathia or the gaudy strikeout numbers of Justin Verlander or Zach Greinke, Lester gets lost in the Cy Young conversation. Lester leads Red Sox pitchers in VORP with 53.3; he is sixth in the American League after Greinke, Felix Hernandez, Roy Halladay, Sabathia, and Verlander. Not only does he pitch behind Beckett, at the moment Lester is also eclipsed by the AL East’s other southpaw star Sabathia.

In the coming seasons I predict that Sabathia’s lack of conditioning will catch up with him and Lester will continue to hone his craft. If Lester doesn’t become the Red Sox’s first left-handed Cy Young award winner by 2012, I’ll wear a pink Joba Chamberlain t-shirt.

As satisfying as the win and series sweep was, there were moments of frustration. The Red Sox loaded the bases in the fourth but Jason Varitek ended the threat with a weak tap out to the pitcher. In contrast, Victor Martinez led off the inning with a single over Ben Zobrist to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.

Varitek was credited with two RBIs in the sixth but that’s because Willy Aybar allowed the ball to bound past him into right field. It’s likely that Varitek will exercise his $3M player option for 2010, so I’m steeling myself for another season of his decaying play.

Just as I am preparing myself for Jason Bay’s almost inevitable departure. Bay wrapped a home run around Pesky’s Pole in the eighth. I’m sure Dustin Pedroia smack talked about how his opposite field longball in the day game was so much more impressive.

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