If Jon Lester was hoping that the second half of the season represented a fresh start for him, he didn't get one Tuesday night.
Instead, it was more of the same for Lester: allowing runs early and showing an inability to preserve leads. Lester was shelled for seven runs in just four innings as the Sox dropped a 7-5 contest to the Chicago White Sox.
The outing marked the third time this season that Lester, 5-7, has allowed seven runs this season. The big blow off him came in the fourth when Kevin Youkilis mashed a ball into the Monster Seats for a three-run homer.
Lester allowed two runs in the first and another in the second, the latter after the Sox had rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the first.
In his last two starts, Lester has failed to get through the
Carl Crawford (three hits, three steals) and Adrian Gonzalez had run-scoring singles off
Chicago starter Philip Humber in the first. The Sox were then blanked until the eighth whenWill Middlebrooks had a run-scoring double and Kelly Shoppach added a pinch-hit two-run homer.
The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.
The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.
Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.
Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.
If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack.
The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)
Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.
A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.
Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.
An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.