Lester and Pena


Lester and Pena

Jon Lester isn't known to give up a lot of home runs. That's not to say he's immune to serving up a gopher ball or two, but in general, he's been pretty good, to very good, at keeping the ball in the park.

Over his seven-year career, Lester's given up .8 homersnine innings. By comparison, that's the same as C.C. Sabbathia and Justin Verlander. Better than Cliff Lee, Jered Weaver and even John Wasdin. Like I said, he's been solid.

But tonight against the Rays, Lester will face his ultimate home run adversary. The man to whom he's surrendered more home runs than any player in Major League history.

Ladies and gentleman . . . Mr. Sean Rodriguez!

Nah, it's Carlos Pea.

Pena is one of five players to have at least three career homers against Lester:

BJ Upton, Paul Konerko, A-Rod and Jose Bautista have three a piece.

Pea has FIVE.

Five career dongs. Pretty impressive considering he's a lefty. Not quite as impressive when you consider how often Lester and Pea have faced off. In fact, only two players (Upton and Nick Markakis) have stepped in against Lester more often over the last seven years.

Still, you can't take away from those power numbers although you can chuckle at the career .256 average and you can't be surprised if Pea goes deep tonight.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched


Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK - There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."