Struggling Lester meets with Farrell, Nieves

Struggling Lester meets with Farrell, Nieves
June 12, 2013, 7:45 pm
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The process of getting Jon Lester back on track began in earnest Wednesday, with the left-hander meeting with
pitching coach Juan Nieves and manager John Farrell and reviewing video.

Lester was hammered for seven runs in just 4 2/3 innings Tuesday night against the Rays. After a 6-0 start, he's 0-3 in his past five
starts with a 6.90 ERA. Additionally, he's walked 14 in his last three outings -- including seven, tying a career high, on Tuesday.

"We met, the three of us, to get back to the basic and re-establishing what his strengths are,'' said Farrell, "and that's his four-seam fastball to his glove side. That's not to say that every pitch is in that location but that establishes release point in the event that he needs to go that area to get back in a count or a start a hitter off with.

"But it has an effect on every pitch that he throws and [Tuesday] night it was pretty clear that he was searching to get some consistency and get some semblance of a four-pitch mix.''

Lester said after Tuesday's debacle that he had trouble commanding any of his pitches (fastball, curve, cutter, changeup), but the lack of fastball command was particuarly problematic.

"Typically,'' said Farrell, "you'd like to go into a game and establish your fastball and let things work off of that. There was a distinct plan [on Tuesday] to incorporate more off-speed pitches early on, given their approach to fastballs early in the count and what it took away from was establishing the fastball to do just that.

"We've got to get back to some basics.''

Farrell isn't overly concerned with Lester's struggles, noting that even the more accomplished veterans go through rough stretches.

"Every pitcher has maintenance to his delivery,'' he said. "This is not any different than anything he's run into before or any other pitcher will go through. But it's work that needs to be addressed.''