In response to S5's comment:
In response to pumpsie-green's comment:
In response to slomag's comment:
In response to pumpsie-green's comment:
You certainly don't determine a pitcher is "getting worse" by charting his ERA. Matt Cain's ERA is 4.29 - you think that's an accurate picture of his performance this year? You think Buchholz is having a better year than Matt Harvey? You think Jeff Locke and Mike Leake are better pitchers than Cliff Lee and Chris Sale? If we trade for a pitcher for the stretch run, you would rather have Jeremy Guthrie than Jake Peavy?
Lester was struggling for several weeks, but his last performance was dominant. It may have been a fluke, or it may have been something he can build off of, but it was not mediocre, and using one game's ERA to prove otherwise only argues against your criteria. Advanced metrics and human beings with eyes are in consensus on this one.
Matt Cain's ERA is 4.29 - you think that's an accurate picture of his performance this year?
Yes, I do. I also think that he has more talent that his ERA reflects, but I measure performance by NUMBERS, not by reputation. Like Lester, Cain has not performed well this year. I live out here near where the Giants play and their pitching has been a disappointment to their fans. Despite what some here to be a good performance by Lester, it wasn't. Four ER in 7 innings is not a good performance, and as a result of it his ERA went up. If you think Lester is getting better, show me the STATISTICS to prove your point. Telling me that he looks better out there is meaningless without the numbers back it up. He has been bad to mediocre for almost two years now and there is no rational basis for thinking he will turn it around.
WE ARE ALL JUST POPPYSEEDS IN THE BAKERY OF LIFE
I'm not arguing Lester has a trend of improvement, but his last game was dominant. The statistics are three hits and two walks through seven innings, for an in-game WHIP of 0.714. Don't discount the 8th inning, and you still have an in-game whip of 1.1 - a significant improvement over his season average, and the only way to get there is to completely ignore the injury that took him out of the game.
Look at Matt Cain - he's been a Cy young contender each of the past three years. His WHIP, his opponent batting average, his H/9, BB/9, K/9 - everything is exactly the same. He's the exact same pitcher he's been the past three years, and he's terrific. You know what I think is the reason for the higher ERA? Ryan Vogelsong. Cain never gave up more than 5 ER in a game last year, but this year he needs to tough out the stinkers to save the pen. So 4 out of 5 starts are great, but in the fifth, he gives up 7 or 8 runs in six innings instead of 5 runs in 4 innings. Same pitcher as last year - ERA is 1.5 runs higher.
Not sure exactly what is up with Cain. He is a very talented pitcher whose ERA is higher than it has been in the past. I don't really follow him very closely.
I agree that if the game for Lester ended after 7 innings it could be classified as a very good game. His numbers, as you pointed out, were great after seven full. When you quote his WHIP for the game, hits agains, runs against its a stronger arguement than " He is getting better, I can just tell" or something like that. I admitted that his last game was an improvement over his previous efforts, but in the end, counting everything, it was not something I could say is "good". And until someone can come up with a cogent arguement backed up by statistics that show that Lester is on the mend I am going to continue to believe that he is stuck in the same mud he was in last year-below average and probably a #4 SP at best. Like all Sox fans, I hope he can regain the form that made him a dominant LHSP from 2008 to 2011.
There. That's what I was saying all along - that he's making progress!
That wasn't so hard, now was it?
I wrote that last game was a better effort than his previous games a long time ago. So one could say that he was better for part of a single game. Its not a trend, not yet. There is no evidence that he has turned the corner from the quagmire he has been stuck in for almost two years.