Frustrated Lester searching for answers

Frustrated Lester searching for answers
June 23, 2012, 4:35 am
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BOSTON -- A frustrated Jon Lester sat at his postgame press conference on Friday night, and couldn't figure out a reason why he was leaving Fenway Park with his fifth loss of the season.

Lester gave up three runs on a season-high-tying 10 hits. He walked one batter and struck out five in seven innings in which he threw 118 pitches.

He said he felt fine. He said his mechanics were good. He even made adjustments. But Lester was left searching for answers for why the results aren't coming along at a more consistent rate.

"I'm getting tired of the same old expletive," said Lester. "I'm making good pitches, and they're getting hit. I don't know what else to do.

"Same book, different chapter for me."

The Braves scored their first two runs off Lester in the top of the fourth. The first run came on a fielder's choice groundout to shortstop Mike Aviles, who went to first base for the second out of the inning, scoring Freddie Freeman from third. Then Andrelton Simmons doubled down the left-field line that scored Jason Heyward, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead.

Lester allowed the third run of the game in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly to right field, that scored Heyward tagging from third, giving the Braves a 3-0 lead.

"They did a good job, early on, of kind of knowing what we normally do against lefties," said Lester after the loss. "We altered it, and still got hit. So, like I said, I don't know. You've got to go ask them, go ask the other hitters what I'm doing. I don't know. I'm not up in the zone. I'm down, on the corners, and still getting whacked around. So, I'm at a loss right now."

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine agreed that Lester wasn't bad on Friday night.

"A lot of really good pitches got hit," said Valentine afterwards. "I thought he threw the ball extremely well. He could have won that game very easily."

Lester left the game after getting Freeman to ground into an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play in the top of the seventh. At that point, it was a 3-0 Atlanta lead.

The Braves went on to win 4-1, and Lester's record reads 4-5 afterwards. But he believes he was good enough to leave Fenway with a 5-4 record on Friday night.

He won't. And the reason he won't at least still be 4-4 is because his offense didn't show up against Jair Jurrjens.

"I'm throwing the ball fine," he said. "I'm just not getting the results. I don't think it's mental. I'm mentally prepared. I'm physically prepared for every start. I go out and compete. That's all I can do. I can't worry about anything else."

Without any help from his offense on Friday night, a frustrated Lester left Fenway searching for answers.