Lester the lone bright spot in loss to Royals


Lester the lone bright spot in loss to Royals

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON With the score tied, one out, and a runner on first base in the sixth inning Monday night against the Royals, Jon Lester walked off the mound to a standing ovation. He would not get a decision or a quality start just the seventh time in his 19 starts he has failed to do so this season. But the Fenway Park crowd was happy to see the left-hander back on the mound for the first time since July 5.

In that game, against the Blue Jays at Fenway, Lester walked off the mound after four no-hit innings. But a left latissimus strain had sidelined him until Monday night.

By the time the Sox lost to the Royals, 3-1, after 14 innings at 1:59 a.m., Lesters outing had been long done. He went 5 13 innings against the Royals, giving up one run on seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts. He did not issue his first walk until the fifth inning, when Alcides Escobar led off with a five-pitch pass.

Before the game manager Terry Francona said Lester would be limited to 80-85 pitches. But Lester threw 89 pitches (55 for strikes, for a 62 percent strike rate), departing after giving up a two hits and a walk to lead off the sixth.

The Sox spotted Lester a slim one-run lead in the second, when Carl Crawford scored on Josh Reddicks double. Lester kept Kansas City off the scoreboard until the sixth.

Melky Cabrera, who is now 9-for-21 (.429, after going 2-for-3 Monday) against Lester, led off the inning with single to left and scored on Billy Butlers double to left. Butler was thrown out trying to third on the throw. After Eric Hosmer walked, Lester was done.

I thought he was very good, said Francona. That was very encouraging. He stayed with all his pitches. It was very good to see.

The lone run snapped a season-long 16-inning scoreless streak for Lester, including consecutive scoreless outings on June 30 at Philadelphia, when he went seven innings without allowing a run, and July 5 against Toronto. He has just one longer streak in his career, when he went 17 innings without allowing a run from Sept. 1 Sept. 13, 2009.

Lester, although satisfied with his outing, could feel the effects of the down time.

I felt good, he said. But I felt like I hadnt pitched in two weeks. As far as the lat goes, felt no pain, felt normal.

I was tired. You cant simulate a big league baseball game. I felt good for the first 4 , 5 innings. A little tired at the end. Build off this one. I should be fine for my next start.

Lester is 10-4 with a 3.23 ERA this season. He has had tremendous success against the Royals, going 4-1 with a 1.28 ERA in six career starts against. At Fenway Park, he is 4-0 with a 0.48 ERA against Kansas City, including his no-hitter on May 19, 2008. IN five of his six career outings, he has allowed one or no run. He has allowed one or no run in five straight games at Fenway, the second-longest streak by a Sox starter behind Roger Clemens, who went six starts from April 21, 1987 Aug. 16, 1991.

Lester has the best ERA against the Royals among pitchers with at least five starts since 2006, and second-best all-time behind Chad Ogeas 1.08.

Despite the loss, his record remains intact against the Royals. But this one was hard to take.

It stinks, he said. Wait around 2 hours for a five-hour baseball game. These ones arent fun.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

The angst surrounding the David Price- and (possibly) Drew Pomeranz-less Red Sox starting rotation may have eased a little -- or a lot -- on Thursday.

Steven Wright extended his string of scoreless spring-training innings to 9 1/3 by blanking the Pirates for 4 1/3 innings in his third spring-traing start, leading the Sox to a 10-7 victory over the Pirates at SkyBlue Park.

Red Sox-Pirates box score

Wright allowed two hits -- the only two hits he's allowed this spring -- with one walk and three strikeouts.

Several of his pitching brethren, notably Heath Hembree and Robbie Ross Jr., didn't fare nearly as well. (See box score above.) But the Sox -- using what may be their regular-season batting order for the first time -- bailed them out with a 16-hit attack, led by Dustin Pedroia (3-for-3, now hitting ,500 for the spring). Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and, yes, Pablo Sandoval each added two hits. Sandoval also drove in three runs and is now hitting .362.

Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 in his return to the Sox from the World Baseball Classic.


A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada once ate 85 Twinkies in a week

A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada once ate 85 Twinkies in a week

This isn’t your average young and hungry player on the brink of the big leagues.

Yoan Moncada, the ex-Red Sox prospect who was one of the principal pieces in the trade for Chris Sale, ate 85 Twinkies in a week, his agent told ESPN The Magazine

David Hastings, Moncada's agent, clarified to CSNNE that this was a one-time thing when Moncada first arrived in the U.S. Moncada had never had Twinkies before, Hastings said, so he was like "a kid in a candy store."

He's still in great shape. Moncada had a huge spring training with the White Sox after a disappointing major-league debut with Boston in September. 

The 21-year-old third baseman has been optioned out of big-league camp, so he’s slated to start the year in Triple-A. But he hit .317 with a .391 on-base percentage and .683 slugging percentage and 3 home runs in 41 at-bats — some of the best numbers anywhere.

Moncada took a $31.5 million signing bonus from the Red Sox, money that the Sox turned into Sale. Moncada, meanwhile, didn’t exactly invest every cent.

Twinkies weren’t his only indulgence. 

More from the story: 

Moncada had money to spend on drones, video games, toys and clothes. He sometimes spent $1,500 or more during nights out, David says. After he purchased the second $200,000 car, Josefa [Hastings, David’s wife] tried to talk some sense into him.

David Hastings reinforced to CSNNE that the message to Moncada was to invest in things that appreciate in value.