Jon Lester, Red Sox: Lester is coming off a horrific 2012, when he finished 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA in 205 innings. The lefty’s strikeouts were also down as he punched out just 166 batters after striking out 225 in 2009 and 2010. Will having his old pitching coach, John Farrell, at the helm help the 29-year-old southpaw bounce back to being a legitimate staff ace and one of the elite pitchers in the AL in 2013?
CC Sabathia, Yankees: The big Yankees ace had an off-year and battled injuries in 2012, going 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA, his highest ERA since 2005. The 32-year-old southpaw is the leader of the pack of starters between these two rivals for sure. The Yankees will be looking for Sabathia to bounce back to his 2010 form when the lefty went 21-7 with a 3.18 ERA.
The edge: Yankees. Lester has to prove he’s an ace, while CC just has to stay off the disabled list.