Lester ends his season with a dud


Lester ends his season with a dud

By Sean McAdam

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester tried to make history Thursday night. Unfortunately for him, he didn't make it past the fifth inning.

Bidding to become the first Red Sox lefty to win 20 games in a season since Mel Parnell in 1953, Lester was stung for eight runs in four-plus innings as the Red Sox suffered their third straight loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Lester had a 2-1 lead by virtue of a two-run homer from his batterymate, Victor Martinez. But he surrendered that lead in the third inning, then allowed a grand slam to Paul Konerko in the fourth and a two-run homer to Dayan Viciedo in the fifth before being yanked.

"We all wanted him to do well,'' said manager Terry Francona. "That wasn't the outcome we were looking for.''

"Just one of those days,'' shrugged Lester, who ended his season 19-9 with an ERA of 3.25. "Bad day to have one of them. Obviously, I would have liked to end on a little better note that than. But that's the way it is.''

Lester had won his last six starts to emerge as a dark horse in the A.L. Cy Young Award debate and had lost only once in his previous nine outings.

But almost from the beginning, Lester struggled with command, issuing two walks in the first two innings en route to a five-walk outing, tying a season high.

The big blow was Konerko's blast, his 39th of the season, putting the game effectively out of reach in the fourth and dashing Lester's bid to become the first Red Sox pitcher since Josh Beckett in 2007 to record a 20-win season.

"Like I've said, it's more disappointing not making the playoffs,'' he said of falling short of 20 wins. "Would it have been nice? Yeah, I'm not going to lie to you. But regardless of all that, we didn't make the playoffs. We didn't meet our goal this year and that's more disappointing than the win-loss record.''

Lester acknowledged that he did think about reaching the 20-win plateau.

"Not a lot, but I did think about it,'' he said. "It's something that's obviously there and you can't hide from it. I don't think thinking about it had any bearing on the outcome of tonight's game. I just didn't go out and execute pitches.''

The grand slam allowed to Konerko was the first one Lester has allowed in the major leagues.

While Lester didn't reach 20, Victor Martinez did, belting his 20th homer in the third inning.

It marked the fifth time Martinez has hit 20 or more homers since 2004, more than any other catcher in baseball.

Martinez leads all catchers with 76 RBI and is tied with John Buck for the most homers for catchers.

The game was delayed 21 minutes in the bottom of the sixth because of a power outage on the South Side of Chicago.

The Red Sox finishd 1-6 aganst the White Sox in 2010.

For most teams, reaching the 90-win milestone is a measure of asuccessful season. The Sox need to sweep their weekend series against the Yankees to reach 90 wins in 2010 . . . but Terry Francona isn't sure that's terriblysignificant.

"It's kind of like the differencebetween hitting .300 and .299,'' said Francona. "It's a nice roundfigure. But I don't know it really significant. If we get stuck on 88or 89 or 91, it's not going to change our year. I guess on yourbaseball card, it does look a lot better. But other than that, I don'tknow what it really means.''

Teams figured thatwinning 90 games will keep them in the playoff hunt, but in theultra-competitive A.L. East, it would only mean third place behind TampaBay and New York.

''I don't think we thought that winning 90 would guarantee anything,'' said Francona. ''I reallythink we were pretty realistic and that we'd better win more than that.I don't think we were kidding ourselves that that would beenough.''

The Sox have 95 or moregames in five of Francona's seven seasons. They won 86 in2006.

Francona said he didn't plan to change anything for the final weekend,with the Yankees, the opponent, still going for the divisiontitle.

"We've doneit the same way the whole time,'' saidFrancona. "We're always trying to win. We're always going to try towin. You kind of play yourself into your position; we've playedourselves out of contention. We're going do what's right for us.They've played themselves into contention, but depending on how muchthey want to win the division, that's up tothem.

"Everybody's got their own decisions to make.''

Francona was asked if Jed Lowrie, who's been playing more or less regularly down the stretch, mightcompete for a starting job in spring training.

''Itprobably depends on who's here,'' said Francona. "Nobody ever said hecouldn't play every day. It will be important to see how this wintergoes in terms of strength and getting his agility back after missing large chunks of the last two seasons, first with a wrist injury and then with mono. Because there'sa lot of things he does -- he commands the strike zone, hit from bothsides of the plate, hit the ball into the gap, he'sintelligent.

"Playing every day at shortstop, if youwear down, it shows. I said the other day, if he's good enough to be aneveryday player, that a nice dilemma for us.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Robbie Ross Jr. is getting elbow checked out

Robbie Ross Jr. is getting elbow checked out

Red Sox reliever Robbie Ross Jr.'s tough 2017 has reached a potentially scary moment.

Expected to be the team's lead lefty out of the bullpen, Ross has twice been demoted and struggled in the majors. Now, he's on the disabled list at Triple-A Pawtucket with inflammation in his throwing elbow — a health situation that might explain why he wasn't pitching well in the big leagues.

The Red Sox expect to know more about Ross' situation later in the week.

Ross hasn't pitched in game for Pawtucket since he was most recently optioned. If the 27-year-old was indeed hurt in the majors, it's possible he could retroactivley wind up on the major league disabled list. Ross was demoted May 19, and is on the DL retroactive to May 25. 

Per BrooksBaseball.net, Ross sat at 93 mph with his fastball on May 12. He dropped down to 92 in the following appearance, and the next two outings were at 91 mph. He averaged 94 mph in 2016.

Ross had a 7.00 ERA in eight major league appearances this year, striking out nine and walking five in nine innings. He posted a 3.25 ERA in a 2016 season where he established himself as a key member of the 'pen.

Ross said he was shocked when he was demoted for the first time this year. 

Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox


Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

BOSTON (AP)  Christian Bergman rebounded from a miserable start with seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners halted Boston's season-high six-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and Guillermo Heredia a solo shot for the Mariners, who averted a three-game sweep with just their second win in nine games. Seattle was shut out the first two games.

Bergman (2-2) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two. He got a lot of help from his infielders when they turned a double play in each of the first four innings.

Three relievers completed the combined five-hitter, with closer Edwin Diaz getting the final three outs despite two errors by infielders.

Bergman was tagged for 14 hits and 10 runs over four innings in a loss his previous start.

Rick Porcello (3-6) gave up 11 hits, but only two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Seattle finished one off its club record for most double plays turned in a game.

After being shut out for the first 21 innings of the series, the Mariners moved ahead 1-0 in the fourth when Kyle Seager raced home from third after Porcello bounced a pitch that went over catcher Sandy Leon's right shoulder and onto the screen. Seager had doubled leading off and advanced on Danny Valencia's single.

Heredia homered over the Green Monster in the eighth and Cano sent his into the center-field bleachers an inning later.


Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, had another bullpen session Sunday because he wasn't happy with one a day earlier.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said 3B Pablo Sandoval, out since late April with a sprained right knee, will stay on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket to get his "timing going" with more at-bats.


Seattle sent Saturday's losing pitcher, RHP Rob Whalen, to Triple-A Tacoma and brought up RHP Ryne Harper from the same club.

The Red Sox also made moves with pitchers, sending Saturday's winner, lefty Brian Johnson, to Triple-A Pawtucket and promoting RHP Blaine Boyer for a day. Boyer will go back down Monday when ace David Price is activated.

Boyer made his Red Sox debut, retiring the only two batters he faced.


Mariners: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-1, 1.38 ERA) is set to make his third major-league start when they open a two-game series Monday at Colorado. RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-6, 4.50) is scheduled for the Rockies.

Red Sox: LHP Price makes his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox after being sidelined since early spring training with a strained left elbow.


More AP baseball coverage:https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball