Jon Lester Wins Third Straight, Focused on Another Dominant Stretch Run


August 27, 2011

Jon Lester Wins Third Straight, Focused on Another Dominant Stretch Run On Aug. 27, 2010, Jon Lester defeated the Tampa Bay Rays to kick off one of the more impressive runs he has had as a major leaguer. It was a 6-0, 1.76 ERA-stretch that kept the Red Sox remotely alive in the playoff race, pushed Lester to the cusp of 20 wins and had him entering his final start as one of a few guys being mentioned as Cy Young worthy.

On Aug. 27, 2011, Lester defeated the Oakland A's as part of what may become another get-on-my-back-boys run for the lefty, whose performance in the next month will have even greater ramifications than it did for last year's also-ran.

The more recent of the affairs was overshadowed by the onset of heavy rains, which forced a rain delay after six innings and Lester's removal. That didn't take away from his solid display.

Lester allowed one earned run on three hits for the third straight start Saturday before the rain interrupted his outing. He improved to 14-6 with a 3.09 ERA. He was 13-8 with a 3.12 mark after that win over the Rays last year on this date.

"As far as results, I'll take them," he said of his last three starts.

The one tiny bugaboo with Lester, from time to time, has been his walk total. He had 14 over his last four starts, and just two on Saturday. He said he has made a conscious effort to attack the zone a bit more.

"If I can just minimize those like I did today, stay consistent," he said before trailing off.

The message did not need to be finished. Lester simply has to stay in the zone. When he's there, few pitchers are more effective, as evidenced by the low hit totals. Lester's only mistake in this one turned into a solo homer for Brandon Allen in the second. Jason Varitek, who saw that pitch come in, said it was actually a pretty good pitch.

One pitch that was not pretty good was a warm-up toss Lester threw in the seventh that sailed to the backstop. He was having trouble even gripping the baseball as the rain came down in droves. That was when the umpires huddled and finally made a decision to put the tarp on.

"It was no longer safe to be out there," Lester said.

Manager Terry Francona said that once the delay hit, that was it for his starter. There was no chance he would go back out there after the 45-minute delay. The Red Sox already led 9-2 and there was no need to push the issue. After all, he may be about to put his team on his back.

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