The 2012 season was hard for Boston Red Sox fans to watch, but it was even harder for the team to play through.
The Chicago Cubs already were in Boston on Thursday ahead of their three-game series at Fenway Park that begins Friday, which gave Cubs pitcher Jon Lester a chance to reunite with the club he essentially grew up in. The Red Sox drafted the left-hander in 2002, helped him get through lymphoma when he was 22 and traded him after eight-plus seasons and two World Series wins.
But through all of that, Lester’s proudest moment in Boston was his transition from the 2012 season into 2013, which saw the Red Sox go from last place in the American League East to World Series champions. Lester became a true ace in 2013 after posting a 9-14 record and a 4.82 ERA the year before.
“The transformation by me as a person and a pitcher from 2012 to 2013,” Lester told The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham on Thursday. “In 2012, that was a pretty low point for me as far as a team performance and individual on the field. To come back in ’13 and have a pretty good year and be relied upon in the postseason and deliver, it was a step for me as a player and as a player for the fans, too. No matter what anybody says, being booed off the field is never a good feeling. To go through that in ’12 and then to be the last team standing in ’13 was special.
“Boston is a different place to play. It’s a hard place to play. But I learned a lot about myself.”
Lester pitched against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, so the Red Sox will just miss him on the mound as the Cubs’ rotation continues with Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Kyle Hendricks for Chicago’s three games at Fenway. But for Lester, he’d rather it be that way so he can take it all in.
“It would be a unique situation to go back there and pitch,” Lester told Abraham. “I only played with a few of those guys, so it wouldn’t have been as hard. But it’ll be good to not pitch there, too. Just not dealing with all of it, I can kind of enjoy the time back.”
Thumbnail photo via David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports Images
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