Farrell: This has been Lester's best year

Farrell: This has been Lester's best year
July 5, 2014, 12:15 pm
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BOSTON -- Jon Lester gets the call for the Red Sox in Game 1 of their doubleheader with the Orioles, and there is likely no better option for the team as it tries to halt a three-game losing streak.

In Boston's first game back since being swept by the Cubs earlier this week, Lester will try to continue a stretch of starts that made the month of June one of the best of his career. 

Through six starts -- even with one that lasted just 4.1 innings and saw him allow five earned runs against the Tigers -- Lester put together an ERA of 1.98. According to the team's public relations staff, that's his best mark in any month with at least four starts since he had an ERA of 1.84 in May of 2010.

In his last four starts, Lester has allowed a total of four earned runs. He's 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA in those games (29.2 innings). 

John Farrell, who joined the Red Sox as pitching coach in Lester's second season, has watched Lester up close for six of Lester's nine years in Boston. The Sox manager was asked before Game 1 if this recent stretch is as good as he's seen from his 6-foot-4 lefty.

"Over the course of the whole year, I would say yes," Farrell said. "I think back to the first couple of years in his career and there was always those three or four starts coming out of spring training where it took him a little bit to get on a roll and then you kind of get out of his way and he was off and going. 

"Last year that was that late May to mid-[to]-late June stretch where it was a little bit rocky. But from start to finish, this has been as consistent . . . and the performance that he's giving, this is as good a year as he's had I think in his career."
That's high praise from Farrell as Lester is engaged in off-again, on-again contract talks with the team. There's little doubt that Lester is doing his part this season to make his next deal a lucrative one -- whether it's in the form of an extension or on the open market.