Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm betting on Lester

Lester will target the strikezone just like he targeted the deer/boar/whatever on this hunting trip.

After two fantastic starts that sadly ended in Red Sox losses, Jon Lester will take the mound tonight at friendly Fenway, looking for his first win of 2012.  Meanwhile, the 2011 American League Champion Rangers will trot out Colby Lewis, who has a win and a no-decision so far this season.

You all know my opinion of the "win" statistic: it's kind of like the cubic zirconia of baseball stats, shiny, pretty, but mostly worthless.  A lot of wins look nice, but since you can be charged for a loss while giving up one earned run in nine innings (or an unearned run, for that matter), and earn a win after giving up fifteen runs in five, wins and losses aren't a great way to test a pitcher's caliber.

That being said, Colby Lewis is a talented pitcher, with 15 strikeouts and a sparkling 1.42 ERA so far this season (stats accrued against the White Sox and Mariners, but still impressive). Last year Lewis helped to anchor a pennant winning rotation after the departure of Cliff Lee (with the help of new-Angel CJ Wilson).  However, Lewis does have a history of struggling against the Red Sox, with just 2 wins and three losses with an ERA of 5.01 in his career against Boston.

On the other hand, Lester's one loss and 2.40 ERA  so far this season come at the hands of the Tigers (against AL Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander, no less) and the up-and-coming Blue Jays.  Over the course of his career, Jon Lester has a 3-1 record with a 3.48 ERA against the Rangers.

Add to these statistics the fact that Lester has been pretty dominating so far this season - even if the number in the "win" column doesn't back that up.  I also think it's safe to say that Lester's teammates are itching to get him a win after failing to do so in Detroit and Toronto.  Lester is a popular - if reserved - man in the clubhouse, and it's clear his teammates hold him in high esteem.

I see an early hook for Lewis tonight - the Sox took the weekend and teed off against the Rays (with the exception of yesterday morning) scoring 31 runs to the Rays' 12 in four games.  The bats have been heating up in Boston, and the way Lester has been going, he won't need that much run support to come out victorious.

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