When Jon Lester took the mound last night, he was trying to become the first Red Sox lefty starter since 1973 to go at least 7-0 to begin a season.
But he also was facing his personal kryptonite.
In his best and worst seasons, Lester struggles against the White Sox. He can’t explain it, but it has become as predictable as winter blizzards in Chicago. In nine previous starts against the White Sox entering the series opener here, the Red Sox ace lefty had a 5.20 ERA, by far his highest against any AL team.
And, true to form, Lester got roughed up again in a 6-4 loss that snapped the Red Sox’ five-game winning streak.
“For whatever reason, I’ve never pitched well here,” Lester said after allowing five runs, all with two outs, over the first two innings. “Talk to them. See what they’ve got on me. Maybe you can get some info for me. It’s just one of those gigs. If I knew (why), I’d stop giving up a bunch of runs to these guys.”
Herald: Not Jon Lester's kind of town
This isn't out of the norm for any pitcher. However, I've always wondered as to what makes a pitcher suck against one particular team. Have the batters figured him out? Do they have a solid strategy and approach? Does the ballpark not suit him? Is there an issue with the mound? Or does the pitcher flat out hate the city?
I'm curious as to what Lester thinks on the plane ride over to play the White Sox. He has to know his history against this team. The fact that he was attempting to continue his undefeated record most likely didn't help his mindset either.
Luckily, the Red Sox don't see the White Sox until late August for a three-game series. Until then, Lester can sit in a dark room and watch tape for hours to figure his struggles out versus this club. Seriously, that three-run bomb by Adam Dunn may still be in orbit.
Rest of the links:
Globe: White Sox get to Lester again | Globe: Victorino leaves with 'mild' hamstring injury | Globe: Ross cleared to start working out | Herald: Healthy issue in Bailey | Herald: Shane Victorino aching again | Herald: Salty, Middlebrooks go deep, but fall short | Herald: Jonny Gomes: 2-year deal with Red Sox has allowed him to emphasize the intangibles | CSNNE.com: Lester done in by White Sox once again |