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Slippery when wet: Cardinals accusations of Lester reek of sour grapes

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  October 24, 2013 11:36 AM

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Labels can be misleading.

Yes, Jon Lester is the ace of the Red Sox, a status he proved during Wednesday’s Game 1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, a game that might go down as one of the most memorable postseason affairs that we’ve seen in Boston.

That “1A” moniker? Forget about it.

Lester is your man, the horse that you want at the front of your rotation.

End of story.

Of course, then there’s the Vaseline angle.

There always has to be something, right? From Eric Mangini to Tyler Melling, someone always has to call us out.

In case you missed it, here’s what Cardinals minor league pitcher Melling Tweeted last night during the game.

Then, there’s this.

OH MY GOD ALERT THE TROOPS.

Frankly, who knows what Lester had going on last night. He was dominant in the win over the Cardinals, but … I don’t know. Doesn’t this seem like sour grapes? Sorry Cardinals fans, but you dropped the ball, twice. Literally.

Well, actually that’s not true. You actually have to have possession of it to drop it. Right, Adam Wainwright?

“I don't think it was jitters,” Wainwright said after watching … well, who knows exactly he was doing. “I don't know what happened.”

It was an all-around embarrassing performance by the Cardinals, escalated by the comments of a guy not even on their staff.

And so Lester’s label goes from stud ace to cheater in the matter of a 12-hour span. Et tu, Cardinals?

Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s not exactly a secret that the Cardinals have been somewhat of a miracle organization over the past decade or so, replacing players at a rate that Billy Beane probably can’t figure out. What’s your secret, St. Louis?

Hell, even the Yankees can’t figure out a way to maintain such brilliance anymore.

Melling, for the record, is a 25-year-old pitcher who just finished the 2013 season in Palm Beach, going 3-4 with a 4.93 ERA. The Cardinals drafted him in the 39th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Miami University of Ohio. Based on the Cardinals’ record of making stars out of nothing, he should probably win the Cy Young Award next season.

You want to call a guy out, then you’d better bring something better to the table than what Melling had at his disposal. Boy, the Cardinals have had some offseason from a perception standpoint, huh?

Chest-beating aside over how you perceive yourselves to be the best fans in baseball, this latest incident takes the cake. See no evil, hear no evil, because you have no idea when the accusers will be pounding on your own door.

Was Lester pulling a Charlie Donovan on the mound Wednesday night? Heck if we know. It has been an ongoing issue with this staff though, made most known by Toronto Blue Jays analyst Dirk Hayhust, who accused Clay Buchholz of doctoring the ball back in May. Spit? Vaseline? Sun tan lotion? Take a guess.

BullFrog is as prevalent across baseball as chewing tobacco and sunflower seeds," Yahoo’s Jeff Passan wrote earlier this year. “Major League Baseball can't exactly ban sunscreen. And players accept it as part of the game because they don't believe it leads to crazy movement on pitches like spitters of yore.”

Your move, Michael Wacha. Show some of that Cardinals “pristine” baseball spirit.

If you’re a Red Sox fan, you had to love the look on Cardinals manager Mike Matheny’s face at the end of the game Wednesday. The man looked about as lost as the Titanic, struggling to find an answer to how his team lost the game. Kind of like the Tigers, no?

That’s a good sign, and you know what, so was Melling’s suspicion. John Farrell, ask to look at Wacha’s mitt.

Whatever Melling was thinking, odds are it’s going to bite his own franchise in the behind.

Thanks for all that ’04 business, St. Louis. But it’s go time now.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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