Lester Dominant As Sox Take 3 Of 4 From The Jays...Boston 4 Toronto 3
Sunday afternoon's series finale with the Toronto Blue Jays ended up to be a one run game, but that's the way it was until the Sox scored single runs in the 7th and the 8th. But first things first...let's give credit where credit is due. Jon Lester was simply superb, going 8 full and giving up a single run on 4 hits. He walked 2 and struck out 6. He has become one of the 3 top lefthanders in all of major league baseball. Bar none. Jonathon Papelbon came into the 4-1 game to finish Boston's third win out of four from the Jays and it was quickly nailbiting time. Two runs came across on 3 hits before Jason Bay threw out Lyle Overbay after taking the carom, Yaz-like, off the wall. Overbay might have snuck his hand in before Pedey's tag was applied, but the ump might have been blocked on the play. Paps regained his senses and recorded the final 2 outs. Again, the location of his fastball has to be his major concern - the velocity is there. Nothing else he threw was anywhere near where he needed it to be. Here's what Mike Lowell had to say about being only one game behind the Rays, who lost to the Yankees yesterday (Minnesota lost, too!), and what Alex Cora thought about Jon Lester's start and continued improvement...
"Absolutely we want to win the division," said Lowell. "We're right there in the standings. We were able to win this series with Toronto and take care of business here and now we're in position to be able to fight for the division. If you're in this position, why not?"
"I'm so proud of him (Lester)," said Sox shortstop Alex Cora. "The way he's been able to come back from everything he's had and now to be one of the best pitchers in baseball is just amazing. To have that kind of a player from the left side in this rotation is major for us. We feel like we're going to win when he takes the ball."
Peter here, and Alex, we're all so proud of him. He'll be the number two starter in the playoff rotation, behind Beckett and ahead of Matsuzaka. When a fourth starter is needed, it'll be Wakes. And talking about starters, here are the pitching matchups for the Tampa Bay Rays series...
Daisuke Matsuzaka (16-2, 2.97) vs. Scott Kazmir (11-6, 2.99) tonight
Josh Beckett (12-9, 4.10) vs. Andy Sonnanstine (13-7, 4.47) Tuesday
Tim Wakefield (9-10, 3.92) vs. Matt Garza (11-9, 3.60) Wednesday
So there you have it...another new week and only ONE game out of first place. Beating Kazmir tonight will be a HUGE first step. If only Daisuke can put the ball in the strike zone instead of wasting so many pitches. I know that Tito Francona does not want to use the arm-weary Papelbon today (or tomorrow), so let's hope he doesn't have to. Have a wonderful Monday and a great week. I'll be here every step of the way...that's a promise. It would be great to see your comments and as always, BE WELL. You can click on the title's post for more on that team you (and I) love, the world champion Boston Red Sox.