Jon Lester Suffers Through Cramps in Fourth Straight Loss


August 4, 2010

Jon Lester Suffers Through Cramps in Fourth Straight Loss Postgame, Indians 9-1: You can all breathe a sigh of relief. It was just a matter of leg cramps for Jon Lester, who has had some long nights of late with the birth of his first child this weekend and was pitching on a warm, muggy night that drained him of fluids. He should be 100 percent next time around in Yankee Stadium.

Whether the Red Sox are still feeling OK at that point remains to be seen. They are 3-3 on a homestand that figured to provide some wins and now 6 1/2 (seven in the loss column) behind the Yankees in the wild card race.

The bid for a winning homestand will rely in part on Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston's starter in Thursday's series finale. Rookie Josh Tomlin goes for the Tribe. First pitch is 7:10 p.m., and we may have more concrete news on Kevin Youkilis before the game.

Final, Indians 9-1: For once we do not have a close game. Not the way you likely wanted to see it, however. The Red Sox fall 6 1/2 games behind New York with a mistake-filled affair that did plenty to erase the exhiliration of Tuesday night's dramatic win.

We are off to check on the condition of Jon Lester. Stay tuned.

Mid 9th, Indians 9-1: Dustin Richardson gets an inning of work in the top of the ninth. The Red Sox have had plenty of late magic recently, but this figures to be a bit too much to overcome.

End 8th, Indians 9-1: You cannot hit a ball farther than Adrian Beltre did and not get a home run in this park. Yet, somehow David Ortiz cannot score on Beltre's booming double, even though there were two outs and he should've been booking on contact.

Not sure if it means much, but Beltre was steamed after the Sox were retired without scoring. He slammed his helmet down and stared toward the dugout as Ortiz sauntered off.

I know Ortiz is no speed demon but it seems as if he was a bit slow to get going.

Mid 8th, Indians 9-1: If and when the Red Sox lose this one, they will fall to 15-15 against the Orioles, Royals, Indians and Mariners, the four worst teams record-wise in the American League. In fact, they are the only four teams in the AL with records below .500. Boston just can't seem to beat the teams it needs to beat.

End 7th, Indians 9-1: Manny Delcarmen is coming on to pitch the eighth. Not much to speak of in the Sox' half of the seventh. Jacoby Ellsbury is now 0-for-4.

Mid 7th, Indians 9-1: The Red Sox have not been involved in a game decided by more than four runs since before the All-Star break. We might finally see such a margin, although not in the way many Boston fans would've liked.

A tough error on Victor Martinez and another on Marco Scuataro with the bases loaded allows the Indians to get a pair of runs early on Scott Atchison.

Andy Marte then unloads on a flat Atchison slider for his fourth home runs of the season, a three-run bomb that opens it up.

All five runs in the seventh and seven of the nine Cleveland runs overall are unearned.

End 6th, Indians 4-1: It took about 30 minutes to play, and all we have to show for it is David Ortiz's solo homer, his 23rd on the season. Scott Atchison is back out to begin the seventh for the Red Sox.

9:22 p.m.: Tony Sipp strikes out the only two men he faced. His reward? A trip to the showers. In comes Joe Smith, a side-armer, to face pinch hitter Bill Hall with two outs and a man on first.

9:11 p.m. With one mighty swing of the bat, David Ortiz extends his hitting streak to 13 games while ending Justin Masterson's scoreless streak vs. the Red Sox at 14 innings. Ortiz crushed a 3-2 offering to center to get the Sox into the scoring column.

A walk to Victor Martinez and Masterson's night is over. Tony Sipp is on in relief.

Mid 6th, Indians 4-0: A somewhat awkard 1-4-3 double play gets the Red Sox out of the sixth and finishes Jon Lester's line. He goes five-plus and gives up four runs (two earned) on seven hits, striking out four and walking two.

Lester has given up five home runs in his last five starts. He had surrendered only one in his previous 10.

8:55 p.m.: This time only Terry Francona heads to the mound. Jon Lester's night is through after five-plus innings, four runs, seven hits and two visits from the training staff. We'll obviously get word on what was bothering him after the game.

Lester is in line for the loss, which would drop him to 0-4 since the All-Star break. His ERA in those four starts is now 4.39, but he's responsible for a runner at first.

8:53 p.m.: Two pitches into the sixth inning Jon Lester gets another visit from the trainer. Again, he presses on. His next pitch is hit off the foul pole in left by Jayson Nix for a solo homer. Something is not right.

End 5th, Indians 3-0: Jon Lester is still out there, so that's a positive. So, too, is Justin Masterson. That's been a negative all year as far as the Red Sox are concerned. He has now given up five hits in 14 scoreless innings vs. Boston in 2010.

Mid 5th, Indians 3-0: We have to hold our breath a bit now and hope that Jon Lester is OK. He was just seen heading to the Red Sox clubhouse after finishing the top of the fifth but nobody is warming so he may just be getting something worked on. The Indians got to Lester with three more hits and a sacrifice fly to score twice in the inning.

8:41 p.m.: One warmup pitch and Jon Lester says he is OK. Tough to tell what was bothering him there but we will find out later. Scott Atchison is warming, just in case. The Indians have already scored twice in the inning.

8:40 p.m.: Sound the alarm. The trainer and Terry Francona are on the mound at Fenway looking at Jon Lester, who is clearly bothered by something.

End 4th, Indians 1-0: There was this line from Terry Francona prior to Wednesday's game when asked about his lineup, which features six left-handed bats against Justin Masterson: "We want to be as left-handed dominant as we can." Hasn't worked so far.

Masterson, who has seen lefties hit .317 against him this year, has limited Boston's left-handed bats to a 1-for-10 mark. He now has 13 scoreless innings against the Red Sox in 2010, while giving up 76 earned runs in 114 1/3 innings against everyone else (5.98 ERA).

Mid 4th, Indians 1-0: A leadoff single leads to nothing for the Indians in the second. And for you Joba Chamberlain fans, here is the text from his latest tweet: "Congrats alex. Awesome to be able to be a part of something special. Many more to come! Boston in town for 4 starting Friday!" Looks like he's pretty pumped about the series this weekend.

End 3rd, Indians 1-0: When you get a leadoff double from Kevin Cash, you have to get that run in. Those are just so few and far between. Unfortunately, the top third of the Red Sox lineup fails to move him along.

For Cash that is his first extra-base hit in 50 at bats with Boston. It is his first hit of any kind since July 23 in Seattle.

Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to short and then Justin Masterson struck out both Marco Scutaro and David Ortiz.

Mid 3rd, Indians 1-0: Look on the bright side — that could've been a whole lot worse than it was. Jon Lester survives the top of the third giving up only one unearned run. He leaves the bases loaded.

A walk and a single started the whole charade and then Lester threw the ball down the third-base line trying to get the lead runner on a Lou Marson bunt attempt.

A pop to second and a grounder to Lester helped him calm the waters. After a walk to the dangerous Shin-Soo Choo, Shelley Duncan grounded out.

Lester threw 28 pitches after tossing just 21 through the first two innings.

End 2nd, 0-0: Justin Masterson is through his 11th straight scoreless inning against the Red Sox this year, but not without some excitement. He gives up a leadoff double to Victor Martinez on a ball that probably should've been caught by old pal Shelley Duncan and then has to wiggle out of the mess.

J.D. Drew did his job by pushing Martinez to third with a grounder to second, but Masterson got a huge out when Adrian Beltre hit a comebacker. Following a walk to Ryan Kalish, first baseman Matt LaPorta saved at least one run with a diving stop of Jed Lowrie's smash down the line.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Eight pitches in the first, 13 in the second for Jon Lester. He already has three strikeouts. The lefty entered the night tied for second in the American League in strikeouts.

End 1st, 0-0: There was plenty of debate as to how Jacoby Ellsbury would be received. If there were any boos, they were hard to hear when he came to the plate to start the bottom of the first. His weak pop to second didn't excite many, but it's clear the majority of the fans are happy to have him back.

It would be a good night for Jon Lester to have a Lester-like performance, if only to give pitching coach John Farrell a nice gift. Farrell turns 48 on Wednesday.

Coincidentally, it is also my third wedding anniversary. You may leave your regards in the comments section. I married a Twins fan three years ago in St. Paul, a night after watching these same Indians get the best of Johan Santana in the Metrodome.

Mid 1st, 0-0: You have to love eight-pitch innings. Jon Lester sure does, especially on a hot night when he's trying to break a personal three-game losing streak. Lester strikes out Shin-Soo Choo to end it. Now we await the Jacoby Ellsbury reaction.

6:59 p.m.: So the Red Sox have made it official by activating Jacoby Ellsbury. We know nothing unforeseen happened during batting practice. You never know. Ramon Ramirez's last act in a Boston uniform was taking a ball off his face and leaving the field with the training staff last Saturday.

Lost in all the Ellsbury-Youkilis-Lowell stuff is the matchup between old teammates Jon Lester and Justin Masterson.

Somewhat amazing when you look at their season numbers to know that Lester gave up six runs in six innings in his last start against Cleveland, while Masterson threw a two-hit shutout against Boston the day before.

Lester has lost all three of his starts since the All-Star break. He has pitched pretty well at times but has been hurt by poor defense and almost non-existent run support.

5:57 p.m.: We know that the Yankees have already won Wednesday, so the Red Sox enter this one six games behind New York. Boston will have Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester lined up to pitch the four games in Yankee Stadium. Works out pretty well.

5:15 p.m.: Kevin Youkilis was just taking throws at first base, but obviously not doing anything with his right hand, which has a splint around the thumb. He is going for another opinion Thursday morning in Cleveland, where he will see Dr. Thomas Graham, the team physician for the Indians and the Cavaliers.

Youkilis is hopping on a morning flight and should be back by the afternoon, so we may know whether he needs surgery or not before Thursday night's game.

4:40 p.m.: As anticipated, Daniel Nava will be sent back to Pawtucket to make room for Jacoby Ellsbury. Nava is still here just in case and the move will become official later one.

We spoke with Ellsbury for a few minutes in the clubhouse. He said he is excited and knows his return isn't necessarily on everyone else's timetable. He added that his teammates have been behind him the whole step of the way and that some of the public perception was a bit off, whether because of a media report or what not.

Ellsbury did not seem upset when talking about that stuff, but was responding to inquiries that he may not have been on the same page as his teammates. Theo Epstein answered pretty strongly when asked about that on Tuesday night, saying in a bold tone that everyone has been on the same page all along – the organization, Ellsbury, everybody.

It's pretty clear the Red Sox would like all of the talk on Ellsbury and how long it took for him to come back to end. And so we will cease on that front, although I already chose to stray from that last week when discussing his potential season-altering impact.

The second he leads off with a single and steals second base it'll be water under the bridge.

In other news, Dustin Pedroia will next attempt to run on Friday in Yankee Stadium. It's his last obstacle before returning. Cannot see him needing a rehab game at all. He'll come right back, perhaps early on the road trip.

Jason Varitek did some very light jogging Wednesday, a development Terry Francona called a "a step forward."

Back with more in a bit.

3:19 p.m.: It'll be Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew and Ryan Kalish in the Red Sox outfield. You might want to get used to that trio. Here is the full lineup for Wednesday night's game:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Victor Martinez, C
J.D. Drew, RF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Ryan Kalish, LF
Jed Lowrie, 2B
Kevin Cash, C

3:03 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where we are watching Dustin Pedroia take some cuts down below and looking pretty good at it. We are awaiting the lineups but we know already that Jacoby Ellsbury is penciled into the leadoff spot and expected to play center field.

It will put Marco Scutaro in the second spot in the lineup. Victor Martinez is expected to play first base with the Red Sox facing a guy in Justin Masterson who is much tougher on righties. So Mike Lowell's great return is followed up by a spot on the bench, in all likelihood.

Daniel Nava is shagging flies right now and Ryan Kalish and Eric Patterson are hitting with Pedroia. The club will wait until the last moment to formally activate Ellsbury, but we should know within the hour what the corresponding roster move is. My guess is Nava goes back down and Kalish remains in the starting lineup until they have a reason to remove him.

8 a.m.:A night after the Red Sox nearly came to blows with the Cleveland Indians, they will take on old friend Justin Masterson in a Wednesday night matchup at Fenway Park.

Masterson, who was traded from Boston to Cleveland in the Victor Martinez deal last year, dominated the Sox in a start at home back in June. He threw his only career complete-game shutout in an 11-0 rout.

The big righty will be taking on a Boston lineup that should feature the return of Jacoby Ellsbury, who is expected to be activated prior to the game following his second lengthy stint on the disabled list.

The teams have split the first two games of the series. Behind Mike Lowell's two-run homer, Josh Beckett's eight dominant innings and a bench-clearing incident that seemed to bring the club together, the Red Sox took Tuesday's meeting 3-1.

Jon Lester, who is 0-3 since the All-Star break, goes for Boston on Wednesday.

First pitch is 7:10 p.m.

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