Lester: 'Just too many pitches'

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Lester: 'Just too many pitches'

KANSAS CITY Jon Lester's defense didn't help him much in the first inning with two dropped balls in the outfield leading to three unearned runs.

But Lester wasn't blameless in the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals Wednesday night.

Unable to put hitters away with two strikes, Lester was inefficient, with his pitch count climbing to 108 after just five innings of work.

And there's this: in six starts this year as the Red Sox' No. 1 starter, he has just one win. Dating back to last Sept. 1, Lester has just two victories in almost 2 12 months of regular season play.

Lester had two outs in the first before walking Billy Butler, then gave up a single to Jeff Francoeur before the outfield hijinx began.

"Too many pitches," said Lester. "Kind of a theme throughout the game just too many pitches. It took too many pitches to get guys out. It took too many pitches, whether they got a hit or not. Just too many pitches. And it's bad, because I felt like I had great stuff."

The inability to put hitters away with two strikes has been a season-long problem for Lester, but he said it isn't because of the failings of one particular pitch.

"I think it's more location than anything," he said. "The balls I bury in on guys or bounce, they're not swinging at. The balls I elevate, they foul off. And when I'm around the zone, they put it in play. I've got a pretty good feel for all four pitches. I threw all four pitches really well at times and other times, I was just nibbling with them, I guess."

That Lester would have trouble with the Royals was a surprise, given his history. Before Wednesday, he owned a career ERA of 1.30 against them. He hadn't given up more than one earned run to the Royals in any of his last five starts against them, dating back to 2008.

Jackie Bradley Jr. explains why he wouldn't skip White House visit

Jackie Bradley Jr. explains why he wouldn't skip White House visit

Jackie Bradley Jr. will likely have a spotless attendance record for White House trips.

The Boston Red Sox outfielder began discussing those championship trips to meet the president after Red Sox chairman Tom Werner referenced the New England Patriots' Super Bowl win at a team get-together on Friday morning.

“If my team is going, yes, I’m going,” Bradley Jr. told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, adding later, “I don’t like politics, not even a little bit.”

The Patriots so far have six players who have openly stated they will not attend New England's White House trip to meet President Donald Trump. Team leaders like Dont'a Hightower and Devin McCourty are among those unwilling to attend.

For Bradley, the White House trip is not about making a political statement.

“The reason why we’re going there is because we did something together as a team. The White House is cool,” he said. “I’m with my team."

The 26-year-old outfielder has twice attended the championship trip to the nation's capital. In college, he went with the South Carolina Gamecocks after they won the College World Series. He later attended with the Red Sox in 2013. Bradley Jr. said he enjoyed attending the White House to meet Barack Obama, but added he wasn't concerned with which president was hosting the event.

He said: “How many people can say they’ve been to the White House? That alone. There is a lot history there, and I’m a big fan of architecture. I think the whole thing is unique.”

Dombrowski: There's a lot of talent on this Red Sox team

Dombrowski: There's a lot of talent on this Red Sox team

Trenni Kusnierek talks with Dave Dombrowski about the Red Sox clubhouse and their expectations for the 2017 season.