But all of that was window-dressing to disguise the real issue. Lester dueled Rangers starter Ryan Dempster for five innings before coming untethered when a call didn’t go his way.
With David Murphy leading off the sixth inning in a scoreless game, Lester threw a 90-mph fastball that appeared to catch the outside corner for a called third strike. But plate umpire Lance Barrett determined it was a ball, drawing a disbelieving stare from Lester.
One pitch later, Murphy stroked a curveball into the right-field corner for a double. Two batters after that, Ian Kinsler launched an RBI single off The Wall, and two after that, Josh Hamilton lined an RBI single to right field for a 2-0 Rangers lead.
“It was a missed call,” Lester said. “Those always seem to come back and bite you. You’re trying to execute your next pitch. The curveball just kind of rolled in there instead of where I wanted it to be. I just have to execute a better pitch.”
Herald | Jon Lester bad enough
It's not Jon Lester's fault that his offense doesn't produce for him all the time -- this is why I don't really care that his record is 5-10 (the first number people point to when talking about his disappointing season.
But this kind of stuff is the core of the problem. Lester used to seem so mentally stable on the mound. I've never been blown away by his stuff, but he always seemed like he could handle any situation he put himself into.
This year? Not so much. Every time a ball falls in between two defenders, or a third strike goes uncalled, or a batter fouls off the out pitch, we all just brace for Lester to fall apart.
"Those always come back to bite you," says Lester of missed calls. Maybe if he could apply that thinking to the pitch after the blown call, rather than the call itself, he could turn things around.
On page 2, Lester isn't the only guy who's frustrated.
The Red Sox were trailing 5-3 with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning when Pedroia stepped into the box. He found himself quickly down 0-2 to Texas reliever Mike Adams. Pedroia clearly checked his swing on the next offering, but first-base umpire Paul Nauert called him out, saying he went around.
Pedroia was furious, and for good reason. To make matters worse, teammate Adrian Gonzalez followed with a two-out double off the Monster, but he was stranded to end the inning.
"We just came back to make it a 4-3 ballgame, and now it's 5-3 and it was time to get amped up," Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "We were all amped up. Pedey wants to win more than anybody, so when he thinks he's getting screwed a little bit, he's going to say something. From our view, it didn't look like he went. We didn't feel like that was a necessary call at that point in the game."
ESPNBoston | Red Sox frustrations boil over
It's always interesting how players are judged differently for similar actions. Everyone gets on John Lackey or Lester for complaining about calls, but Pedroia does it and he is a gamer and wants to win and is passionate.
This just shows what this team has gotten to. They're at a loss for why they're not playing well, so they're just looking for reasons to lose. As soon as something goes wrong, they know it's over and start to point fingers.
Herald | All tangled up in blue | Josh Beckett talks good game in radio interview | David Ortiz on deck | Globe | Check point | Lester is at a loss (his 10th) after another tough outing | Ortiz planning a weekend comeback | CSNNE | Pedroia loses cool after called strike three, gets tossed | Middlebrooks pinch-hit home run a bright spot in loss | Lester coming around, although results don't show it | Lester, Sox falter down the stretch, lose to Rangers 6-3 | ESPNBoston | Ryan Dempster picks up first win since trade as Rangers drop Red Sox | Time to get behind Josh Beckett? | David Ortiz takes batting practice | Scott Atchison opts for rehab | Beckett: I'm ready to return Wednesday