Lester coming around, although results don't show it


Lester coming around, although results don't show it

BOSTON -- Jon Lester no longer wants to focus on the negative. He wants to take the positives out of an outing like the one he had on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

The outcome wasn't positive. The Red Sox lost to the Texas Rangers, 6-3. Lester picked up his 10th loss of the season. He is now winless in his last seven starts. And with the latest loss, the Red Sox once again dip below .500.

But still, as much as it may pain some people to find any positives in that, Lester has been a much-improved pitcher in his last three outings. That's why, after allowing four runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out four and throwing 116 pitches in 6.2 innings, Lester is only going to focus on the positives.

"I can't keep talking about being frustrated, and all this stuff," said Lester after the loss. "I mean, it's like beating a dead horse. Everybody obviously knows here that we're frustrated, and we don't like losing. And we just keep -- like I said -- beating a dead horse. But there's positives for me, personally, in this game that I'm going to take. And go forward to the next one."

Despite the loss, Lester's stuff, especially through the first five innings was as good as it's been all season. The Rangers' four runs off Lester came in the sixth and seventh innings, and he left the game while only truly allowing three runs, but Mark Melancon came in to replace him in the seventh with two on and two out, and allowed an RBI single to Ian Kinsler to give Texas a 4-0 lead.

"He threw the ball really well," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "We could nit-pick it all we want, what the heck. He pitched pretty good."

"I think Lester pitched great. I mean, he had every pitch working tonight," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "He kept people off his fastball away by throwing his cutter in. He just pitched an awesome game.

"His stuff was great all night," added Saltalamacchia. "The cutter was just back to where I remember it being. I haven't caught him his last two outings, so, getting back with him tonight, we both had a game plan, we stayed on it. I don't think one of those guys had a real comfortable at-bat with the way he was throwing tonight. Velocity was there, changeup was there, curveball had some really good, sharp bite. I was really happy and proud of him. I though he went out there and pitched a great game."

Lester's cutter -- down and inside to righties -- is devastating when it doesn't break coming out of his hand. It wasn't doing that on Tuesday night. Instead, it was coming out like a fastball, and darted away at the last moment. And with the command he had on top of that, Lester had his best stuff on Tuesday night, other than a few pitches that Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, and David Murphy got a hold of in the sixth and seventh innings.

"The past three starts, I've felt like I've thrown the ball better than I have all year," said Lester. "And I'm 0-2."

"I feel great, physically. I felt like we've made the right adjustments. The ball's down in the zone. I'm not giving up a bunch of hard-hit balls.

"I've got to look at the positives," added Lester. "I've got to keep looking at the positives. Three or four pitches, out of 116 pitches. That's a positive."

And Lester isn't the only one looking at the positives from his outing on Tuesday night.

"Just seeing where he's at right now, I can't be happier for him," said Saltalamacchia. "I know he didn't get the results he wanted, but, he's really, really heading towards the right direction.

"He's the Jon Lester that we all know, and want on the mound every single time out."

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”