Valentine unsure if Sox will skip Lester's next start

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Valentine unsure if Sox will skip Lester's next start

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jon Lester's next start is scheduled for Saturday at Yankee Stadium and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine suggested that Lester would make that start.

Unless, of course, he doesn't.

The Sox have an off-day Thursday and could conceivably skip Lester to give him time to work through his troubles on the side. Lester was blasted for 11 runs in four-plus innings of work Sunday.

In his last three starts, Lester has pitched just 12 13 innings and allowed 21 runs.

When a reporter started to ask whether the Sox might think about skipping Lester, Valentine cut the reporter off and responded: "I don't think so. Maybe. I don't think so."

But later, when another reporter rephrased the question about skipping Lester, Valentine seemed to leave open the possibility of doing so.

"Maybe," said Valentine. "If that's something that we deem that he needs."

Lester plans to throw a side session Wednesday here at The Ballpark at Arlington.

"(We'll have) a conversation," said Valentine. "It's not anything that has to get deep. We have to talk, figure it out. We're not solving the world corn crisis."

When it was pointed out that Lester has sounded downcast in recent comments, Valentine said he had a remedy for that.

"We'll just let him know that if you're that far down, there's only one way to go and that's up," Valentine said. "I believe in him. No one else in this room (full of reporters) does, but I do. So, that's a good start. Maybe if he's sitting in here, there will be two (people who believe in him) before he leaves."

Valentine added of Lester: "He's not hurt, that's for sure. He said he feels fine. The plan is to talk with him after batting practice. I had a little piece of pizza with him. We'll see if can make a plan, straighten him out and get him going on the right track."

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Rays:

QUOTES:

* "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully, the tests come back clean.'' -Andrew Benintendi, on the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury.

* "Sometimes, I like that, sometimes I don't because I'd kind of take a couple of quick outs in place of those to get a couple of more innings out there.'' -Drew Pomeranz on his career high 11 strikeouts.

* "That's probably the spot that looms the largest. Jackie's become more aggressive early in the count, but at the same time, that aggressiveness can work against you.'' -Farrell on Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging at the first pitch following a walk with the bases loaded.

NOTES:

* Drew Pomeranz recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts

 * Since moving to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia has a slash line of .397/.418/.460 in 16 games.

* Pomeranz has yielded two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.

* On the just-completed road trip, the Red Sox led in all but one game.

* Thursday's loss was the fourth this season in which the Sox allowed two runs or fewer.

 * The past 18 Red Sox losses have come by a combined 37 runs.

* Until Thursday, the Red Sox had won 20 of their past 31 day games.

* The bottom third of the makeshift Red Sox lineup combined to go 2-for-12.

* The Sox missed out on a chance to have an eight-win road trip, which would have been their first since 2011.

STARS:

1) Jake Odorizzi

The Rays started, facing a depleted Red Sox lineup, limited the Sox to a single run over seven innings, allowing just five hits and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by allowing just one run.

2) Mikie Mahtook

Mahtook was 0-for-34 when facing Drew Pomeranz in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop him from doubling home Steven Souza Jr with what proved to be the winning run.

3) Dustin Pedroia

The Sox couldn't generate much of anything at all offensively, but don't blame Pedroia. The leadoff hitter had three hits and a walk and was on base four times for the Sox.