FORT MYERS, Fla. — Day game after a night game here at JetBlue Park. But fueled by some Clash songs, let's take a quick look at the day.
Jon Lester, who faces the Pirates today, has been excellent so far in spring training. His stats have been good, but those are generally meaningless. He has been keeping the ball consistently down in the strike zone in bullpen sessions and in games and throwing his secondary pitches for strikes.
Lester had a rocky final month of the 2011 season and was erratic last season. But he is 29 and very much in his prime. With Josh Beckett gone, Lester seems to have taken the idea of leadership and run with it. In his case, leadership can best be demonstrated by pitching well.
Outside of some of the prospects (Jackie! Bradley! Jr.!), the two players who have impressed me most this spring are Lester and Stephen Drew. Bounce-back seasons from those guys will go far in making the Sox an interesting team.
One other thing worth mentioning. If you follow the team closely, have you noticed how matter-of-fact and candid John Farrell has been with his comments to the media? Farrell doesn't parse his words or leave you guessing what he means. There is praise for players when merited and well-reasoned analysis of failures.
Farrell has the backs of his players but also holds them accountable. That can be a fine line to walk because it happens behind closed doors sometimes and in front of microphones at others.
If these first few weeks are any indication, hiring a manager with experience within the organization (and the media market) made a lot of sense. Makes you wonder how somebody like DeMarlo Hale would have done last year.
Anyway, off to the clubhouse. Check back later for more.