Lester fights through soggy conditions

Lester fights through soggy conditions
August 28, 2011, 12:07 am
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By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- Jon Lester expected rain during Saturdays doubleheader. With Hurricane Irene on the way, it was in the forecast for Boston. He just didnt count on it causing significant delays when he was pitching.

I figured coming in that my game was going to be fine, he said following the Red Sox 9-3 win over the Oakland Athletics. I knew obviously that tonight we had the threat of some rain, but I figured that this afternoon was going to be fine and it wasnt going to be a problem. But obviously I was wrong on that.

Lester threw six innings, which included passing showers, and limited the As to just three hits and one earned run (he gave up a homerun to Brandon Allen in the second inning).

But by the time Lester (14-6, 3.09 ERA) took the mound to start the seventh inning with a 9-2 lead, the downpours had intensified. He noticed problems gripping the ball as he continued to warm up.

They were bad, he said of the conditions. The mound wasnt that bad. It was just any time you took the ball out of your glove, it was wet. Just had no grip. I was trying to explain that to the umpires and I think after I threw the second one off the backstop, I think they finally got the idea that it wasnt safe to be out there at that time.

Lester added, I know what theyre (the umpires are) trying to do -- theyre trying to get the game in -- and I understand that. But theres a point where you have to kind of say ok enoughs enough.

The umpires called a rain delay before the top of the seventh inning which lasted 45 minutes. Dan Wheeler came in for Lester once play resumed, but torrential rain forced another delay after the inning was completed. This time, it lasted two hours and 15 minutes.

Although the second game of the doubleheader was scheduled to start at 5:00pm, the umpires ruled the first game had to be completed before the second could begin. Game 2 began at 6:52pm.

Following Game 1 Umpiring Crew Chief Tim McClelland told a pool reporter he consulted with Joe Torre, Major League Baseball Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, on the decision to complete the first match up. During a doubleheader between the Red Sox and Minnesota Twins in 2009, an unevenly scored first game was called after seven innings (the Red Sox won, 10-1) to let the rain clear up for the second game.

That was an aberration, said McClelland. According to the rules, that cant happen or shouldnt happen. They (Major League Baseball) didnt want that. They wanted this game to finish.

When asked about the decision to complete Game 1, Terry Francona took it all in stride.

I don't know if it's a hard and fast rule or if it's judgment, he said. I dont know. We just go where they tell us.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comJCameratoNBA