Re: Lester: the hard cold numbers
posted at 6/17/2013 12:24 PM EDT
As I posted earlier, I'm still optimistic about Lester's ability to still be at least a solid No. 2.
First, I'm not sure right now how pertinent the numbers going back to 2011 and the beginning of last year. Obviously, he was struggling, so I guess it does show how far back it goes to a certain exent. But it also can distort the picture because it ignores a stretch where he was very good.
Here's why I hold out hope. He obviously had problems with mechanics in the first half of last season, which might have started in Sept. 2011). But he ended 2012 with a 3.76 ERA over 12 starts, which to me shows he still has good stuff and turned things around.
So I could easily use Aug. 2012 as a starting point, instead of going back to 2011. From then through his first nine starts this year, he had 21 consecutive starts where he posted a 3.31 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP with 110 Ks and 51 BBs in 138.2 IP. That's a pretty decent stretch of starts at a high level, and it is recent enough.
If you use Aug. 2012 as a starting point and go up to date, his ERA is 4.11. To me, that tells the real story of Lester right now. He's at the crossroads. He had enough recent success, especially if you look just at the start of this season, to show that he still has good stuff. But something still isn't right.
If you're going to say his next six starts are going to be like his last six, why can't you say his next nine starts are going to be like his first nine starts this season. It's the same season.
I don't know what Lester will be like going forward. I wasn't concerned through the first four of the recent six-game stretch. He had one bad start then three mediocre starts where he gave the Sox the chance to win (they won two of the three). But now that it has extended through six starts, now it's a major concern. He remains the key to the staff IMO.
Maybe the nine-start stretch this year (or 21-start stretch going back to last year) is the abberation of a starter who is otherwise declining. Or maybe the recent six-game stretch is the abberation of a pitcher who really has turned things around. I think over the next couple of months we'll have our answer one way or another.