Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The one-hitter, the complete game, the shutout, the perfect game through 52⁄3 innings, the six-pitch first inning, the pinpoint command of his fastball, the ground balls and weak swings he got on his two-seam fastball and changeup, his exploitation of an all-jacked-up-on-Mountain-Dew Blue Jays lineup: There was a great deal to admire about Jon Lester’s performance at Fenway Park last night.
Above all else, however, was that Lester put a stop to a Red Sox three-game slide and 3-6 start to May that was beginning to feel like a premature June swoon.
Last night, Lester bent down, picked the team up, and for at least one shining moment, reminded us all in a 5-0 win that this team can look like (and just may be) a very good team — especially when it gets starting pitching like that.
In a season in which Lester has been very good but Clay Buchholz has been a bit better, Lester put out his best effort when the team needed it the most.
That’s what stoppers do.
As I stated in my recap last night, the best part of Lester's performance is that it whitewashes all the other nonsense surrounding the team at this moment. I know it's only temporary. The Sox have another game to play today. Guys are still hurt. Shaughnessy isn't going to just let himself fade from the spotlight; he'll try to keep dragging this Ortiz-PED thing around for a while longer, despite the fact that NO ONE wants to have that conversation right now.
Now it's up to everyone else to keep that momentum going. The Sox have to feel pretty good heading into today's game. Buchholz is taking the mound, having thrown 7 innings of 2 hit ball against the Jays just 10 days ago. You can't expect those types of numbers every time you face a team, but his confidence has to be pretty high.
It's really up to the offense to start picking up their play. Hits haven't been a problem for them, it's getting those men home. A large chunk of that has to fall on Papi's shoulders. After coming out of the gates blazing, he hasn't had a multi-hit game all month (or any hits over his past 13 at-bats). Napoli, who was an RBI machine the first month of the season is struggling to drive in runs too. He has 5 RBIs in May, but 4 of those came on May 1st. Those two guys are the key to making this work.
Rest of the links:
Herald - David Nava stepping up to star role | Jon Lester 1-hitter puts punctuation on win | Globe - Jon Lester nearly perfect in Red Sox’ 5-0 win over Blue Jays | Hanrahan weighing decision on surgery | WEEI - Jon Lester’s nearly perfect game highlights pitching growth since 2008 | Source: Will Middlebrooks playing with separated rib | CSNNE - Stars nearly align for Lester in one-hitter | Game Day Notes: Salty will have changeup nightmares