Early trouble complicates things for Lester


Early trouble complicates things for Lester

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

BOSTON -- Jon Lester doesnt want to over-complicate things at this point in the season, but thats exactly what got him in trouble on Saturday.

Lester gave up four earned runs in the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. He struggled early on, and rather than sticking with what has gotten him to this point, he tried hard -- harder than he should have.

I wasnt making pitches, he said. First batter of the game, just had no rhythm, had no feel for anything, overthrowing a little bit. A couple of them, got ahead of a guy, trying to make a perfect pitch instead of just making a quality pitch like I had done previous to that. So just more or less getting myself into trouble.

Lester (15-8, 3.15 ERA) gave up a two-run home run to Ben Zobrist in the first inning. Desmond Jennings scored on a wild pitch in the third, and Evan Longoria drove in Brandon Guyer in the fifth.

Terry Francona noted Lester got himself into deep counts, and while he gave him credit for going seven innings, he still had problems with pitches.

He got us through seven, Francona said. I think it was pretty obvious he wasnt commanding like he can. It was a lot of deep counts.

"Hes so good and he competes so much though that he finds a way to get that deep in the game, but hes not hitting his spots as consistently as he usually does. Thats probably the best way I can put it.

Rather than overanalyze his performance, Lester kept it simple after the game, the way he wanted to on the mound.

I wouldnt do a fire sale here and say theyre the greatest team and Im the worst pitcher, he said. I think theyve done a good job the past two series against us, but it comes down to executing pitches and I didnt do that for the majority of today.

He added, You stick around and you give a team a chance to win, were going to be on the other side of those more times than not. So as far as that, I did my job. But . . . they pitched better than me, so thats kind of the story today.

Lester shared the same sentiments of many of his teammates -- hes not about to start panicking and reading too much into one game. The season may be winding down, but there are still plenty of games to be played.

This isnt our first go-around at this, he said. We have plenty of guys in that clubhouse that have been here, gone to the postseason, won a World Series, so this isnt like this is all new to everybody and were just trying to get through it. I dont think anybodys pressing.

I think its easier when youre coming from behind than where were at. I think thats probably the biggest thing is they have no pressure. Were the ones that need to play well and the past three nights I think we have. But they played better two out of three, so weve just got to keep grinding it out.

"Weve still got, 12, 13 (games) somewhere in there. Weve got a long ways to go still. Like I said, just keep grinding it out. Its clich but thats what it is. Thats the mindset of our clubhouse right now, just one pitch, one at-bat at a time.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.