BRADENTON, Fla. -- Jon Lester said his mechanics Wednesday afternoon were the best he's had this spring.
But that didn't seem to help him much on the mound against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Lester was shelled for eight hits and four runs in just three innings in the Red Sox' 6-5 loss to the Pirates.
"I felt probably the best I've felt mechanically and able to repeat my delivery in a long time,'' he said. "To waste it is bad.''
Lester blamed the outing on "riding the fastball up a little bit. Obviously, the results showed today and they were able to whack me around a little bit."
Lester has been named the Opening Day starter, so he's not fighting for a spot in the rotation. Still, the results unnerved him some.
"I'm a competitor,'' he said. "I want to win. I don't care if it's the back field against Minnesota or in Fenway or wherever. I always want do well and win and get the results that I put the work in for.
"This is not something I take lightly, even though it's spring training. I don't think there's anything we need to address. I felt really sound. I was just that little bit under it with my fastball. Instead of being at the knees, I was at the thigh and when you face big-league hitters, that's what happens.''
Lester blamed his poor fastball command on "trying to do too much at the end. I was just getting my hand under it. I felt a little too amped up and the pitch flattens out. A difference of three inches is huge.
"You have days like this and hopefully, you get rid of them here in spring training."
With two starts remaining before the season opener, Lester said he will focus on throwing the ball downhill and getting on top of the ball.
"Now it's just about results,'' said Lester, who sports an unsightly 5.73 ERA. "I've got to get the ball down and get some people out."