After Tuesday's 7-5 loss to Chicago — where he surrendered six runs on seven hits with three walks — Lester was simply at a loss for answers. The lefty maintains that he's attempted to adjust "everything" and the results aren't showing.
But his outing against the White Sox was the culmination of a season's worth of aggravation.
"It's frustrating showing up every day busting my [butt], going out there every day when I pitch busting my [butt] and just not pitching well," Lester said. "I’m letting my team down. Guys did a great job in that first inning picking me up, and I didn’t pick them right back up. I've got to get them back in the dugout and I didn’t do it. I haven't been doing it all year. That’s got to change."
It starts with the beginning of games, where Lester's lackluster pitching has forced the Red Sox to play from behind. During his last four starts, Lester has yielded at least one run in the first inning, marking the longest stretch of his career.
Both Lester and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine disagreed with the notion that the extra layoff — as a result of the All-Star break and six-man rotation — hindered the southpaw's progression.
"He’s working as hard as anyone, thinking about things as much as anyone, maybe thinking too much, who knows?" Valentine said. "He’s throwing with good velocity, his curveball is pretty good and his change-up’s OK. Just that one little thing that doesn’t seem to go right."
And recently, Lester hasn't been efficient with his pitches. During his last two starts against the White Sox and Yankees, he's only lasted four innings while tossing 101 pitches and 91 pitches, respectively.
"I think we just had trouble getting ahead of guys, getting strike one and continue to grind with it," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "I thought he made some good pitches, had some good stuff, sinker. Cutter wasn't working as well as we liked it. But I think we just had to get ahead and stay ahead."
Lester's woes are also taking place at Fenway. In 11 home starts, he owns a 6.29 ERA — 44 earned runs through 63 innings — compared to the 3.04 ERA that he's posted away from Boston.
Right now, he's struggling to solve the issues.
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