The Bill Chuck Files overflow each day with stats, factoids, and observations that are sometimes relevant, sometimes irrelevant, and sometimes simply intriguing. At the start of each Sox series, I will share some of these in my “Nine to Know,” and I hope you will do the same.
Jon Lester is a smart pitcher and he’s shown that he’s a smart man. He has handled his upcoming free agency with style and grace and has remained cool and calm amidst the maelstrom that surrounds him.
In fact, it would be fair to say that he has handled the process significantly better than the Sox’ front office because you don’t get the feeling that the initial offer that the Sox made to the Lester camp was received with anything but disdain, as well it should have. And yet, Lester has stayed classy, Boston.
Lester was quoted as saying, “I mean, this is what I know, this is what I love. Like I’ve said many times, this is where I want to be. If they trade me, I completely understand.
“Like I said, no hard feelings. I know what they have to do for their organization. If that involves me, so be it. If it doesn’t, I’ll keep running out there every five days, pitching, and like I said, hopefully November we’ll get something done.”
And Lester is so smart that he realizes that:
• The Sox 2014 season is lost
• The Sox can get more for their outstanding lefty now than just the one draft choice if they lose him during the offseason
• Even if the Sox deal the ace, he can still return next season to Boston
Lester is a smart man and as Red Sox Nation watches him in the postseason in some foreign uniform, and smiles about the new group of suspects, er, prospects, they have acquired, the Sox hierarchy had better be prepared to bring him home.
Toronto 56-50 (26-27 on the road, +23 overall run differential) @ Boston 48-57 (26-26 at home, -35 overall run differential)
1. Jon Lester has a 2.52 ERA tied for 8th in the majors with his former, and perhaps his future teammate, LA Dodger Josh Beckett. Lester entered the season with a 3.76 ERA.
2. Lester’s WHIP is 1.119, good for 19th in the majors. In 143 innings, he’s allowed 128 hits and 32 walks. Lester entered the season with a 1.304 WHIP.
3. Lester has a .238 batting average against continuing a downward trend. His BAA was .273 in 2012 and .253 last season. However, from 2009 to 2011, his BAA was .232.
4. Lester has allowed just nine homers this season, again continuing a downward trend. In 2012, his HR per 9 innings rate was 1.1, in 2013 it was 0.8, and this season, it’s 0.6.
5. Lester has allowed only one homer to a lefty this season but interestingly lefties are hitting .254 against the lefty while righties are hitting just .234.
6. Lester has made 21 starts this season and 16 were Quality Starts (at least six innings, no more than three earned runs) a rate of 76 percent, the highest of his career. However, Quality Starts are up everywhere, which is why I rely on the Ultra Quality Start (at least seven innings, no more than two earned runs). Lester has thrown 11 UQS, tied for sixth in the majors.
7. Lester is averaging 6.8 IP per start, the highest of his career. The Sox are giving him 3.8 run support in the games he’s pitched, 3.7 while he’s actually in the game.
8. Lester has three 10-plus-strikeout games this season. He had none last season, one in 2012, two in 2011, and seven in 2010.
9. For the second straight season, Lester has a 3.0 WAR and has a 31.0 WAR for his career.
BTW: Lester is scheduled to pitch against the Jays Wednesday night, the day before the trade deadline.
I’ll be back Friday as the Sox host the Yankees.