Lester the key to a Red Sox comeback

Jon Lester
MICHAEL IVINS/GETTY IMAGES

At the midway mark of the 2012 season, Red Sox fans are seeking answers. The main question: How could it have come to this, really?

Remember in late October/early November 2007, when we were told a baseball dynasty in Boston was in the making? The team had won two World Series trophies in the span of four seasons, had the smartest GM in the biz, the perfect manager and what looked to be an endless stream of young talent (Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Lars Anderson, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Jonathan Papelbon) ready to enter their primes.         
      
Pedroia and Ellsbury have lived up to their potential, but injuries are threatening to make both players JAGs, as in Just Another Guy(s).

Turns out Anderson is just a minor league talent (happens sometimes). Dice K? Certainly not worth the millions it took just to negotiate with the guy and it’s more than safe to call him a major league bust. Buchholz has had his struggles, which have been well-documented. And Papelbon bolted for seemingly greener pastures and more money.

I t is Lester’s plummet that should be the primary cause for concern. The lefty, who owns a 5-6 record and a 4.49 ERA so far in 2012, was fresh off a clinching World Series game in which he allowed just three hits over 5.2 innings in the fall of 2007. Lester lived up to and even surpassed the hype in the four seasons that followed, earning at least 15 wins each year, reaching 225 strikeout seasons twice and never allowing his season ERA to jump over 3.47. Earning 10 wins in the second half isn’t going to happen, so this will likely go down as Lester’s worst season in a Boston uniform. But is it too much to ask for Lester to just be average in the final two-and-a-half months of 2012?

Look, we’re not sure why Lester has been so horrendous this season. There is no evidence to suggest he’s injured and those who suggest that he’s now “fat” compared to his 2007 self, don’t really have much of an argument. Who doesn’t weigh five more pounds at 28 than they did when they were 23? (What, just me?)

There was an encouraging start from Lester on July 3 in Oakland, when he pitched four-hit ball against the A’s and allowed just one earned run. But he followed that sharp outing up with a stinker against the Yankees last weekend, allowing four earned runs on nine hits before Bobby V. pulled the plug after just 4.1 innings. If the Red Sox want to entertain getting back in the postseason race (just 2.5 games out of the wild card race as of Friday), then Lester will have to be solid.
Solid, but not great. That’s not too much to ask.

- Matt Burke is Sports Editor at Metro Boston. Follow him on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.
Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Send submissions to letters@metro.us.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.