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Lester trending down after strong start

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  May 31, 2013 11:58 PM

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NEW YORK — Should there be concern about Jon Lester after a 4-1 loss against the Yankees Friday night?

He allowed four runs on six hits with four walks and a hit batter over 6 1/3 innings. By the time the lefthander was done, he had thrown only 67 of 116 pitches for strikes.

It was not necessarily a poor effort for Lester, particularly on the road against a team like the Yankees. They had lost five straight (four against the Mets) and the wolves were at the door. But it was part of a downward trend.

Lester was 6-0 with a 2.71 earned run average in his first nine starts but 0-2 with a 6.05 ERA in the three starts since.

John Farrell thought Lester did a better job of locating his pitches against the Yankees but conceded, “the numbers are what they are.”

Lester said it’s a matter of getting the ball down in the strike zone. Several of the hits he allowed were on pitches that stayed high.

“I feel at times I’ve thrown the ball really well, then at times the ball elevates on me a little bit for whatever reason,” Lester said. “Maybe trying too hard or trying to make a perfect pitch.”

Also:

• When Daniel Nava was called out on strikes in the eighth inning, he stayed at the plate and demonstrably argued with umpire Lance Barksdale. Farrell had to intercede or Nava might have been ejected for the first time in his career.

The second pitch that was called a strike by Barksdale was high and well outside the strike zone based on replays.

“I’ve never done that,” Nava said. “I can’t comment because I’ll get in trouble. But [Barksdale] cannot comment and that’s fine. There were multiple pitches. It’s unfortunate that was the case but that’s what he called.”

• Jose Iglesias was 2 for 3 with a double. He is 20 of 46 (.435) in 14 games this season. The infielder has hit safely in 13 games and has had multiple hits in all four games he has played against the Yankees.

This is the same player who hit .202 in 33 games for Triple A Pawtucket after being optioned early in the season.

“He’s been confident both times he’s been with us this year. He believes in himself and feels he can excel at this level,” Farrell said. “He’s doing that. He’s doing a very good job defensively and at the plate for us.”

Iglesias has been playing third base with Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list. Middlebrooks is expected to return next Saturday, the day he is eligible. Iglesias is making a good case to remain on the roster as a utility player in place of Pedro Ciriaco.

• Clay Buchholz, who faces the Yankees on Sunday night, will be pitching on 10 days of rest. But he doesn’t expect the long break to adversely affect him.

“Outside of three days, I’ve been throwing the whole time,” said Buchholz, who had a start skipped because of tightness in the AC joint in the front of his shoulder. “I actually feel pretty good with what I’ve been throwing.”

• Shane Victorino and Middlebrooks are scheduled to take batting practice on the field on Saturday and remain on track to be activated from the disabled list when they are eligible. For Victorino, that would be Wednesday.

• The Red Sox traded Triple A righthander Graham Godfrey to the Pirates for cash considerations. Godfrey was 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 14 games for Pawtucket, four of them starts. Godfrey appeared in 10 games for Oakland from 2011-12. The Red Sox obtained him in November.

• The Sox were 15-15 in May after an 18-8 April.

• Model Kate Upton, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and comedian Garry Shandling ventured out in the hot weather to catch the game.

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