Lester locks on too late in complete-game loss

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Lester locks on too late in complete-game loss

ANAHEIM -- Over the final five innings he pitched, Jon Lester allowed the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim just a single run.

Problem was, he had given up four in the first three frames and that proved too big of a head start for Lester and the Red Sox.

Lester notched his third complete game of the season, but this one, like the first one -- against Toronto on April 11 -- resulted in a loss.

The Angels needed just three batters to take a 2-0 lead in the first, then kept adding on in the early innings.

"After the third, I was able to get in a little bit more of a rhythm," said Lester, 8-11, "and we were able to slow them down a lot better. I threw a lot of curveball and a good many changeups (after the first few innings).

"You've got to minimize the damage early and I just didn't do that. If we come out of those three with just two runs, maybe it's a different ballgame."

Lester had difficulty commanding his curve early, and the Angels feasted on it, with two runs in the first, two in the third and another in the fourth.

"For whatever reason, one pitch was too fast, the next pitch was too slow," recounted Lester, who saw a personal three-game winning streak come to an end. "It was just kind of a constant battle, trying to get the feel for where I was at.

"It was a just a feel, feeling them out and it took us a little bit. It's kind of one of those deals where if I get into a better rhythm early on, maybe we're able to execute those pitches and get some early outs and I just didn't do that."

He eventually settled down. From the fifth through the eighth inning, Lester allowed just two baserunners -- a two-out walk to Chris Iannetta in the sixth and a two-out single to Mark Trumbo in the seventh.

By then, however, the damage was done and the Sox were swept for the second time in the last week.

"They just hit the ball and pitched better -- plain and simple," said Lester.

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Former Ravens and Jets linebacker - now an "NFL Today" analyst for CBS - Bart Scott usually "can't wait" to make his disdain for Tom Brady and the Patriots known. 

He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.

“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.

“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”

More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.

"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.