Lester, ERA, early this season

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Lester, ERA, early this season

    .I believe it was Roy ( correct me ) who said that Lester had an ERA of 3.91 ( correct me ) after 9 starts ( correct me ) this season ( correct me ).
    Here is what is on the record:
    March/April, 31 innings, 4.65 ERA
    May, 36. 2 innings, 4.91 ERA 
    That would seem to cover 9 starts or close ( correct me ).
    Just to be sure, I'll add June, 33.2 innings, 4.01 ERA
    We don't want go near July, 25 innings, 9.36 ERA.
    I'm having trouble matching Roy's numbers with the record, unless I didn't get his numbers right.
    When this discrepancy is resolved, I may return briefly to some remarks I made about early this season, in which troubles extended beyond his doldrums in past Aprils.
    I apologize to Roy if I have misrepresented him.  
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    Lester's season ERA was 3.95 after 7 starts.  He got bombed his next start and it went up to 4.72.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Beantowne. Show Beantowne's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    Not sure what the relevence of this thread is EX? If its to confirm that Lesters had a tough go this year, not sure that's news worthy and longer. I will say that he's pitched much better of late notching five quality starts out of the seven he made since August 1st. Posting a 3.59 ERA in the month of August. He's started the month of September with a workman like 6 inning / 3 runs allowed effort against the Mariners the other night. While nothing to write home about it does bode well for him to return to form next year.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/gamelog/_/id/28487/jon-lester
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    I did a tour of several spots online that more or less dealt with the theme "What's wrong with Lester?" There is no consensus. He throws too much of this and not enough of that. He pitches behind. He seems to lose focus. Fewer strike outs.  He doesn't make the pitch he needs to.   He does not look like the pitcher he was until last September. A lot of numbers are brought to bear on the discussion.
    I am more interested in the subjective side. Lester has said that he stunk last September, that he let down the team and the fans, that he has trouble facing his teammates in the clubhouse. Surely he must feel that he let down the manager, who was "like a father to me." To me, he hasn't from the start this year looked like a person with confidence in what he is doing. He has been even more skittish than usual on the mound, fighting himself and fighting umpires. He simply has not looked comfortable out there. And there is a mechanical clue to a pitcher who is struggling to get it done. His  left leg flies out and comes down early, and he short-arms his pitches, as though he is trying to get it over with.  Or the shoulder flies open. In other words, he doesn't maintain direction towards the plate. Too often, he is not intensely focused on the goal. 
    As far as I know, he has been healthy.
    He pitches much worse at Fenway than on the road -- in front of home town fans. He felt bad about the clubhouse controversy, and apologized. He must have been affected by all the publicity, which included a lot of mockery.
    All of this leads me to speculate ( not postulate ) that Lester had trouble bouncing back psychologically, and that there was carry-over from one season to the next. His dobber was down, and perhaps he did not quite get it back up, at least for the start of the season.
    Cause and effect is tricky in these situations. A dobber goes down because a player is not doing  what he expects from himself. Or he is not doing it because his dobber is down. Or -- and this is how it happens, especially with pitchers -- he has been caught in a vicious circle, with events and attitudes reinforcing one another. 
    I have seen this happen. I am not saying flatly that it did happen. But I do not think that the possibility can be discounted. He is a sensitive and, at times, volatile young man. He does not wear an emotional suit of armor. Far from it. 
    Pitching is essentially mental. Even small distractions can cause a loss of concentration. His distractions have not been miniscule. His own words testify to that. What he has said indicates that what happened at the end of last season was very much on his mind. Maybe not consciously but embedded. Maybe. 
    He is pitching better but still does not look fully comfortable at work, even the other night when he got a "quality start." ( A stat that, IMO, has dubious value, for all sorts of reasons. ) In short, he still does not look like himself. 
    I am not a psychologist but as a pitching coach I had to try to fake it. I have seen examples like this. Using them is a big part of the discourse of Lasorda on pitching. ( Say "hello" and he can go on for hours. ) And you hear from guys who played the game. The inability to bounce back, at least quickly, from a bad finish is not unknown. And last year wasn't just any old bad finish. It was an historic one.  It can take time to restore confidence, to recover what was lost or misplaced. 
     
    Was Lester absolutely lousy for most of the early part of the season? No. But he was not right. He was not the Lester who seemed headed for a Cy Young -- until a team collapse, to which he obviously feels he contributed in a big way. "Data," one way or the other, cannot account for that.
    As I say, I hesitate to push this speculation too far, but I do not hesitate to introduce it.


     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    Lester has an ERA of 6.60 at Fenway and 3.34 on the road this year.  That's weird.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    For what it's worth, from baseball-reference.com, here are Lester's first nine starts with his innings pitched, earned runs allowed and ERA after the game and the numer of runs in () that the Sox scored for him, and the decision Lester got.

    7 IP, 1 ER, 1.29 (2) ND
    8 IP, 3 ER, 2.40 (1) L
    2 IP, 7 ER, 5.82 (3) L
    7 IP, 5 ER, 6.00 (5) ND
    7 IP, 0 ER, 4.65 (1) W
    6 IP, 3 ER, 4.62 (4) ND
    5 IP, 1 ER, 4.29 (1) L
    9 IP, 1 ER, 3.71 (6) W
    6 IP, 4 ER, 3.91 (7) W

    That's nine starts, 3.91 ERA 3-3 record. Now look at the poor run support he got five of the starts the Sox scored three runs or less. And if the Sox are a team that supposed to average 5-plus runs, he only got that in three starts.

    Of the nine starts, he was good to great in five, mediocre in two and horrible in two. The last start, I put in the medicore category because while for he game it's a 6.00 ERA, leaving after six with just four runs allowed does give the Sox the chance to win, which in this case they did. 

    You can't simply look at monthly ERAs, because one horrible start can distort the ERA. And if you look beyond the ninth game, he blew up in the 10th game 4.0 IP, 7 ER then bounced back over the next seven starts that took him through his first start in July with an ERA of 3.83 in those seven starts and bringing his season ERA to 4.33.(Sox scored just four or less runs in four of those seven starts). His worst start in those seven games was a 6.2 IP, 4 ER game and a 7 IP, 4 ER game, both of which are hardly horrible starts.

    So after 17 starts, Lester's ERA was 4.33 but distorted by two horrible starts (2 IP, 7 ER, 4 IP, 7 ER). In the other 15 starts, his ERA was 3.52. He was just 5-5 after 17 games because of bad run support. Overall, Lester was getting job done. Everybody keeps harping on the pitching and even at that point harping on Lester's and Beckett's W-L record, but if you look at the facts, Lester certainly should have been better than 5-5 at that point.

    So it's a far stretch to say that there was a carry-over from last September, especially when Lester's "bad September" boiled down to two bad starts.

    Here is his last September with run support in ().

    5 IP, 1 ER (2): Yes, going just five wasn't good but he did allow just 1 run. Decent enough start.
    7 IP, 0 ER (14): The only time he got run support and his only win.
    4 IP, 4 ER (1): His first bad start.
    7 IP, 4 ER (3): Not ace-like but still a decent start. Certainly gave the team a chance to win.
    2.2 IP, 8 ER (1): His other bad start and probably the reason he threw himself on the sword. 
    6 IP, 2 ER (3): Again, poor run support.

    Lester wasn't No. 1-starter ace-like in September, of course, but he gave the Sox the chance to win in four of the six starts. HE GOT NO RUN SUPPORT. Even in the two bad starts, the Sox scored just one run. So from his starts, he hardly was getting roughed up every start that would have created something in his head that would carry over into 2012.

    The only thing that carried over was POOR RUN SUPPORT.


     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from slomag. Show slomag's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    In his first 8 starts, Lester had a 3.71 ERA with a WHIP of 1.27.  In his last 8 starts it's a 3.95 ERA with a WHIP of 1.2.  Those are very good numbers - you can debate if they're ace numbers, but if not, solid #2, given his pitching conditions.  The middle 12 starts were not good at all.  Maybe it's psychological - I'm sure Lester wanted to prove himself after all the media fuss after the collapse, especially in front of the home crowds.  But everybody goes through a slump.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    In response to slomag's comment:

    In his first 8 starts, Lester had a 3.71 ERA with a WHIP of 1.27.  In his last 8 starts it's a 3.95 ERA with a WHIP of 1.2.  Those are very good numbers - you can debate if they're ace numbers, but if not, solid #2, given his pitching conditions.  The middle 12 starts were not good at all.  Maybe it's psychological - I'm sure Lester wanted to prove himself after all the media fuss after the collapse, especially in front of the home crowds.  But everybody goes through a slump.



    Actually it wasn't even all of the middle 12. I'm not going to rip a 6.0 IP, 4 ER as a horrible start because it does keep the team in the game and it's the type of "bad" game that you want a good pitcher to have (as opposed to 6 IP, 6 ER).

    So from that standpoint, from Lester's Game 10 to Game 20 when his season blew up, in those 11 starts, it was a bad start in Game 10 then the three-game stretch at 18-19-20, ending with the 11-run debacle. In those other seven starts, he was OK to very good.




     
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  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Alibiike. Show Alibiike's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    With the worst battery mate in the league, it's no wonder lester has struggled.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    In response to bobbysu's comment:

     

    He had a bad year granted, in his Prime. How many Great Pitchers have a Off-Year in their Prime?
    I'll bet you not many.

     



    Great is a relative term. Are you talking about HoF'ers. Solid No. 2 pitcher? And what years are considered prime.

    Regardless, it does happen. Here's two off the top of my head.

    Justin Verlander: Age 24: 18-6 3.66 ERA Age 25: 11-17 4.84 ERA   Roger Clemens Age: 29 18-11 2.41 ERA Age 30: 11-14 4.46 ERA Age 31: 9-7 2.85 ERA
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from maxbialystock. Show maxbialystock's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    A pointless argument about when Lester went bad this year.  The point he's the presumptive ace and has had a lousy season. 
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    In response to maxbialystock's comment:

    A pointless argument about when Lester went bad this year.  The point he's the presumptive ace and has had a lousy season. 



    You're missing the background. Ex-pitch argued that there was a carry-over from last September. I pointed out that he was pretty good early -- in fact as I showed, except for two horrible starts, he was pretty for the first half of the season -- so when he went bad is exactly the point of the discussion. 

    That he is the presumtive ace and has had a lousy season isn't the point of the thread.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    Frontline pitchers have disappointing seasons for all sorts of reasons. I'm talking about a specific pitcher in a specific set of circumstances.
    if Lester says he "stunk" in September, he stunk in his own mind -- which is what I am talking about. If he thinks he let the team down, then he did in his own mind -- which is what I am talking about, run support or no run support. There is objective numerical realty, and there is a live human being who perceived events from the inside, which is his reality. So with us all. 
    I'll bet if you tried the September numbers on him, he would still say, "I stunk." Lester has been a troubled pitcher this year, numbers aside. His "troubles" have been discussed at length by people who are familiar with the numbers. ( I'll say! ).  I'll bet he would tell you that too.
    I will stick with the  possibility that there was a carry-over, however slight, however not consciously.

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    In response to expitch's comment:

    Frontline pitchers have disappointing seasons for all sorts of reasons. I'm talking about a specific pitcher in a specific set of circumstances.
    if Lester says he "stunk" in September, he stunk in his own mind -- which is what I am talking about. If he thinks he let the team down, then he did in his own mind -- which is what I am talking about, run support or no run support. There is objective numerical realty, and there is a live human being who perceived events from the inside, which is his reality. So with us all. 
    I'll bet if you tried the September numbers on him, he would still say, "I stunk." Lester has been a troubled pitcher this year, numbers aside. His "troubles" have been discussed at length by people who are familiar with the numbers. ( I'll say! ).  I'll bet he would tell you that too.
    I will stick with the  possibility that there was a carry-over, however slight, however not consciously.


    He said he stunk because he's a stand-up guy who does take responsibility and isn't going to throw his teammates under the bus and because of how bad he was in the Yankees game, which was at an even more critical time.

    Lester would say he stunk, or at least take responsibility, if he lost 2-1 with one runner reaching on an error with two outs in the ninth and the only hit he allowed was a two-run homer to the next batter.

    But any responsible analysis wouldn't put the loss on Lester and wouldn't say he let the team down. That's why regardless of what he said -- and it's not to say he couldn't have done better -- it's weak and unitelligent to ignore the individual games and simply say Lester stunk last September because he said so.

    So sure, he might have felt let the team down last year. It doesn't mean, however, that was the reason for this year, especially when you look at the first half of the season. Being horrible in two of 17 games and posting a 3.52 ERA in the other 15 games doesn't back up your arguement that there was a carry-over.

    If anything affected his pitching, it might have been the consistent poor run support. He might have started to try to do too much, which messed up his mechanics and it snowballed for that three-game stretch in July when his ERA ballooned to 5-something. If last year was the cause of that, it was a helluva delayed reaction.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from maxbialystock. Show maxbialystock's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    Lester has had a lousy season and had a lousy last September when the Sox needed him to be a lot better.  So there is little doubt in mind 2011 has carried over into 2012.  And the problem seems pretty obvious.  He loves his fastball and cutter and disdains curves and changeups.  Apparently, hitters have figured this out and wait for the fast ball and even the cutter.  In his last start he didn't throw a single curveball or changeup until he had already given up 2 runs. 

    Earlier this season there was a perfect example of getting too predictable, which I think is Lester's problem.  In this earlier game against Detroit, Nava, hardly a great hitter, got a clean single at a crucial point late in the game--off of a 100 mph fastball from Verlander.  When you are predictable, you are hittable, period.  Another example.  In his first year in Boston Beckett was throwing 97 mph fastballs.  The problem was he loved throwing them almost as much as opposing batters loved hitting them.  His ERA that year was 5.01.   

    Lester is still healthy and his command seems to be decent.  His fastball is around 94 mph when he needs it.  He has a decent curve and changeup.  What he needs to do is mix his pitches up a little more. 
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    Right, Lester is a stand-up guy who tells the truth about how HE feels. And I have little doubt that the way he felt, as a carry over, is in there somewhere. 
    I doubt that you are "unintelligent," maybe even too intelligent is a cerebral, detached way, especially when it comes to, shall we say, the nuances of athletic psychology.
    Indeed, everything you say about Lester the person tends to reinforce my speculation.  
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    In fact, it is exactly a person with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility who might continue to be bugged by ( in his head, his reality ) by a sense that he had "stunk" and "let the team down." You have "your reality." Lester has his. I'll bet they don't coincide on the issue in question.
    I'll stick with first-person testimony, which, as employed in my analysis, may seem "weak" and
    "untelligent" to you. I might say that, in allowing not even a smidgin of possibility to my analysis, you are being obdurately obtuse. 
    You deny my point, but in your comments on Lester the man, you begin to undermine your rejection of that point out of hand.  He must be assumed to mean what he says, in exactly the words he uses; and unless you think he's being melodramatic, those words are an accurate reflection of his psyche. 
    I've seen this happen in baseball, up close. Have you seen anything in baseball up close at a highly competitive level? Say, on the field, in dugouts, trains, planes, buses, hotels, training rooms, offices for conferences one-to-one player and coach, where one is in close touch with and can observe ( is paying paid to observe ) flesh-and-blood individuals.  Or do you just do a quick dial up of numbers?  That is a serious question. 
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    Your reference to a "delayed reaction" is another indicator of your feeble grasp of human psychology, especially in sports.
    People can be affected years later by something that had eaten at them. The "reaction" may seem to come out of nowhere, but it was long embedded in cumulative consciousness. Anything can trigger it. And even result in homicide or suicide.  Maybe in this case Fenway Park itself, where Lester's ERA this year is "inexplicably" much higher than on the road. Who knows.
    Even more to the point, maybe the reaction never left but was simmering for what was in psychological terms a very short time. Almost a blink of the eye. Or a blink of the psyche. In short, there could have been powerful emotional continuity between the end of 2011 and the start of 2012.  
    In the man you describe, it might even have been likely.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from notin. Show notin's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    The Game Log on B-R.com has Lester's ERA at 3.95 after 9 games.  And really, without the Texas game, it would have been 2.95.

    However, he has been getting killed at Fenway, giving up 37 more hits and a ton of them for extra bases.  His home OPSA is a ridiculous .882, while his road OPSA is .659.

    His road OPSA is right around his career mark of .673.  But his home OPSA is about .150 higher than his career mark, and about .160 above where it was just last year.

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from SonicsMonksLyresVicars. Show SonicsMonksLyresVicars's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    In response to expitch's comment:

    .I believe it was Roy ( correct me ) who said that Lester had an ERA of 3.91 ( correct me ) after 9 starts ( correct me ) this season ( correct me ).
    Here is what is on the record:
    March/April, 31 innings, 4.65 ERA
    May, 36. 2 innings, 4.91 ERA 
    That would seem to cover 9 starts or close ( correct me ).
    Just to be sure, I'll add June, 33.2 innings, 4.01 ERA
    We don't want go near July, 25 innings, 9.36 ERA.
    I'm having trouble matching Roy's numbers with the record, unless I didn't get his numbers right.
    When this discrepancy is resolved, I may return briefly to some remarks I made about early this season, in which troubles extended beyond his doldrums in past Aprils.
    I apologize to Roy if I have misrepresented him.  



    Just check game logs on B-R:  http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=lestejo01&t=p&year=2012

    3.71 after 8 games, 3.95 after 9 games, etc.   1.29 after 1 game!



     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Beantowne. Show Beantowne's posts

    Re: Lester, ERA, early this season

    In response to notin's comment:

    The Game Log on B-R.com has Lester's ERA at 3.95 after 9 games.  And really, without the Texas game, it would have been 2.95.

    However, he has been getting killed at Fenway, giving up 37 more hits and a ton of them for extra bases.  His home OPSA is a ridiculous .882, while his road OPSA is .659.

    His road OPSA is right around his career mark of .673.  But his home OPSA is about .150 higher than his career mark, and about .160 above where it was just last year.



    It is rather simple when one connects the dots...He is simply not missing enough bats. His K per start is down, his hits/hr allowed per start are up, as a consequence, so too is his ERA and runs allowed per start. Control is not the issue more so putting guys away when he gets ahead in the count. Therein lyes the answer to the riddle of what has happened to Lester, solving it is another matter.

    My guess is that Lester himself and the Red Sox will in earnst for the remainder of this season, during the offseason and into next, look long and hard at trying to solve the puzzle. The good news is that it is not health related. It could be a simple as his needing to add another wrinkle to his repetoire or just look at changing his patterns.

    End of the day he has grown more and more dependedent on his cutter and less and less on throwing his offspeed stuff and four seemer. In a game of adjustments, it might be time for him to make a few minor tweaks and perhaps use his change and curve ball more often in fastball counts. While using his fastball early in the count to get ahead of the hitter and when he's ahead in the count, throw the backfoot cutter to righthanded hitters off the plate. He might even think about adding a true slider to his repetoire or perhaps a splitter...


    Jon Lester Career Stats Ave Performance Per Game Started       SEASON GS IP H R ER HR BB SO W L IP/GS K/GS  BB/GS  H/GS  R/GS  HR/GS WHIP ERA 2006 15 81.1 91 43 43 7 43 60 7 2 5.41 4.0 2.9 6.1 2.9 0.47 1.65 4.76 2007 11 63 61 33 32 10 31 50 4 0 5.73 4.5 2.8 5.5 3.0 0.91 1.46 4.57 2008 33 210.1 202 78 75 14 66 152 16 6 6.37 4.6 2.0 6.1 2.4 0.42 1.27 3.21 2009 32 203.1 186 80 77 20 64 225 15 8 6.35 7.0 2.0 5.8 2.5 0.63 1.23 3.41 2010 32 208 167 81 75 14 83 225 19 9 6.50 7.0 2.6 5.2 2.5 0.44 1.20 3.25 2011 31 191.2 166 77 74 20 75 182 15 9 6.17 5.9 2.4 5.4 2.5 0.65 1.26 3.47 2012 28 175 187 103 97 22 55 145 9 11 6.25 5.2 2.0 6.7 3.7 0.79 1.38 4.99 Total 182 1132 1060 495 473 107 417 1039 85 45 6.22 5.7 2.3 5.8 2.7 0.59 1.30 3.76                                       Statistical Game Started Comparison;   IP/GS  K/GS  BB/GS  H/GS  R/GS  HR/GS WHIP ERA 2010 32 208 167 81 75 14 83 225 19  9  6.50 7.0 2.6 5.2 2.5  0.4 1.20 3.25 2012 28 175 187 103 97 22 55 145 9 11  6.25 5.2 2.0 6.7 3.7  0.8 1.38 4.99 Variance                      (0.3) (1.9) (0.6) 1.5 1.1  0.3 0.18 1.74
     
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