BOSTON - The contrast was unavoidable.
Instead of Jon Lester being on the mound Wednesday night at Fenway, there was Brandon Workman taking his spot as the Red Sox continued trade talks involving Lester.
The team had scratched Lester from this start late Tuesday night, understandably fearful of the potential for distraction, as well as the notion that a team trading for Lester might want him to start in another day or two, rather than five days from now.
Workman wasn't just replacing Lester for one start, either. If the Sox deal Lester, as anticipated, before Thursday's 4 p.m. deadline, Workman will be one of the pitchers the Sox turn to in 2015.
And Wednesday night was one more reminder that there are growing pains for young pitchers trying to learn on the job.
Workman walked the first two hitters he faced in the first inning and saw both come around to score. In the third, he walked the leadoff hitter again, and again, saw him score.
He also compounded things with a throwing error in that inning, leading to three unearned runs in a 6-1 loss to Toronto, the Red Sox' third straight loss and eighth in the last nine games.
"When you look back to the five runs allowed, it centers around the walks and a couple of extra baserunners via the (errors),'' said John Farrell.
"It was definitely a matter of, for the whole game, fighting my command a little bit,'' acknowledged Workman, 1-4. "I was able to throw my breaking ball over the plate, but my fastball command wasn't where it needed to be. I was missing up with my fastball early in the game and fell behind and walked a few guys.''
Workman agreed that the atmosphere around the ballpark was "a little bit'' strange, given the likelihood that teammates were about to be traded off, but said he was able to block that out during the game.
"I felt like I did a good job not worrying about that,'' he said. ''and all the outside things and just kept my mind on throwing. Like I said, I wasn't as sharp as I would have liked to be and didn't execute as well I would have liked, but I wasn't too worried about anything else.''
Still, it was a bit jarring for Workman to look around and see Jake Peavy gone and know that Lester and perhaps John Lackey, too, could be gone before the team's next game on Thursday.
"It's definitely different,'' he said. "I guess it could be a lot more different here in the next couple of days. A lot of faces that were with us last year are already gone and more, I guess, could go. So it's definitely a different atmosphere, I guess.''