Re: Can Lester Handle the Pressure?
posted at 9/12/2011 10:32 AM EDT
In Response to Re: Can Lester Handle the Pressure?
[QUOTE]yes, now let's rip the 15-7 guy because he didnt throw a 7 Ip, 11 K shutout today. Obviously, some of you fans can't handle the pressure of a Sox 4.5 game lead. I lead the league on this forum for doomsaying and I even think this is an alltime bonehead thread. You guys are beyond belief. Lester is one of the 10 best pitchers in the AL not named Verlander, Weaver, Haren, and a few others. He threw a ridiculous amount of pitches for 4 IP, and he had an off day. End of story. As for big game pitching, when are some of our vaunted hitters going to help the team out.
Posted by dannycater[/QUOTE] I agree wholeheartedly and will attempt to put an end the absurd notion that Jon Lester has not been the "ace" of the Red Sox pitching staff since the 2008 season by comparing him to the immortal Josh Beckett who has emerged from the rubble to have his best season since 2007. Lester is simply having a normal season by his high standards. During the past 3 seasons (2008 to 2010) Lester has won 50 games and lost 23. He made 97 starts with 6 complete games, 621 2/3 IP, 555 hits (that's really good), only gave up 48 HR, 602 K's, BAA of .240, OBP of .308, SLG .353 and OPS .661.
Contrast those numbers with Beckett's 35 and 22 record, 4.39 ERA, 80 starts, 5 CG, 514 1/3 IP with 522 hits (that's not good), 63 HR (not good), 487 K's, .260 BAA, OBP of .313, SLG .422 and OPS .735. It's not even debatable as to has been the more dominant pitcher over a reasonable period of time to objectively evaluate performance.
If that's not enough for some, I believe that is fair and reasonable to evaluate a pitcher by how he has done within the division and against current "potential" postseason teams. Within the division during the last 3 years, Lester is 10 and 0 vs the Orioles (2.19 ERA), 6 and 1 vs the Yankees (2.56 ERA), 8 and 3 vs the Rays (3.27 ERA) and 7 and 4 against eh Jays (3.62). During the same timeframe, Beckett was 2 and 2 against the Orioles (4.01 ERA), 6 and 4 against the hated Yankees (6.09 ERA), 4 and 2 against the Rays (3.06 ERA) and 0 and 3 against the Jays (11.85 ERA).
Finally for what it's worth Lester was 3 and 1 against the Rangers (2.62 ERA), 1 and 0 against the Angels (3.42 ERA) and 0 and 2 against the Tigers in 3 starts (5.89 ERA). Beckett was 1 and 1 against the Rangers (6.12 ERA), 1 and 4 against the Angels (5.98 ERA) and 3 and 0 against the Tigers with an impressive 1.25 ERA. When all is said and done, Lester has been not only better, but much more often than not siginificantly better against all of the teams in the division and 2 of the 3 playoff contenders in the Central and the West than Josh Beckett who is the "ace" of the staff in 2011, but has not been that since Jon Lester was inserted as a regular in the team's starting rotation in 2008. His career record against the Yankees alone compared to that of Beckett should be unto itself sufficient to fairly characterize him as a "big game" pitcher.
For bobblehead fans who actually think that guys like Gammons, McAdam, Cafardo, Dennis and Callahan, et. al. who want Beckett for subjective reasons only known to them to be considered the unquestioned "ace" of the staff so be it. Remember, however, that in doing so they are ignoring the consistently outstanding work of a pitcher considered one of the top left-handed pitchers in the game by knowledgeable fans outside of New England. Given a choice the mob of Yankee fans would be shouting to the mountaintops, "give us Beckett" or anyone but Lester anytime of year. Unto iself that should be enough to answer the question: "How empty is theory in the presence of fact?"