Comparing the performances of the so called “Aces” of this year’s Boston Red Sox pitching staff to the popular casino card game Blackjack is one that makes logical sense. When dealt an Ace in this very card game the player has the choice of whether or not to use its numerical value of one or eleven based on the other card they are also dealt. It’s the only card within the entire game that has a double value that can be chosen at one’s discretion. If Josh Beckett and Jon Lester’s teammates had the choice of deciding what value their once light’s out starting ace’s could possess, common sense would tell you they would want their ace card value to be chosen based on what would give them their best chance at succeeding; something neither of these two have been able to do in the last 5 months of playing time dating back to last September.
While Jon Lester is not completely off the hook, his performances in his previous two starts have shown that he might have diagnosed the cause that has plagued his 2012 campaign in the worst of ways. The 8 inning effort against the Twins where he gave up only 3ER and struck out seven was one that was not the most impressive but still good enough to use as a confidence booster. This looked like the case in last night’s start against the Rangers up until his 6 shutout innings of baseball were quickly erased with 4 runs in the inning leading to Lester’s 10th loss of the season. His Ace status? Completely nonexistent at the moment as the hand being dealt is a 2 of diamonds and a 3 of hearts.
As for his buddy old pal Josh Beckett, his beyond lackluster effort today in which Texas shellacked him for 8 runs on 8 hits in only 5 innings of “work” continued the mantra of the front end of the rotation which is strive for success only to come up brutally short. Boo birds were chirping yet again at the ballpark as they watched Beckett and Lester compile their 12th and 13th losses of the season while playing in front of the hometown crowd this season (4-13 6.14 ERA at Fenway between the two and the team is 7-18 in those games they have pitched at home) Faith and patience need to be present when it comes to assessing Lester’s underachieving season. Justin Verlander had a similar nightmare back in 2008 when he led the AL in losses with 17 and sported a 4.84 ERA as well only to follow up with 19-9 record and lead the MLB in strikeouts with 269 the very next season. Jon Lester still has the devastating stuff, is still very young and has yet to show that his repertoire is diminishing dramatically to the point where he will never be good again. Mentally is where his game has fallen off and where he will need to spend much quality time taking care of for the reminder of the season through the offseason to allow himself to regain the dominance he has embodied in his six years of service in the majors. The Texas tough guy however is a lost cause that will continue to display mediocrity at best until management will allow itself to wipe their hands in some shape or form of this once dynamite arm that has rapidly bottomed out with no signs of being able to regain his prominence. Fenwoods is a place where you can take a chance and make things happen. Where no corks will be popped, the only fingers that will be snapping are Ryan Sweeney’s (sorry bud) and the wheel will continue to spin round and round as the Red Sox Nation will continue to go take a front seat to what is being forecasted as one heck of a nightmare if this pitching staff cannot get their act together. It starts and ends with these two individuals one way or another.
About the Author
Written by Jefferson Mills
I am a 22 year old aspiring sports journalist. I graduated from Hofstra University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and was born and raised in Norwood, MA, twenty minutes south of the great city of Boston. Sports consume my life in every which way as I have been an athlete since the age of 8 playing organized football, baseball and basketball throughout high school and have been an avid die-hard Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox and Celtics fan. I Interned for the "Mecca of Sports Radio" WFAN 660 AM while in college and also interned for News 12 Long Island. Working as a member of the hardest working sports department in one of the most talented college radio stations 88.7 FM WRHU is the one thing I am most proud of when it comes to my work in the field. My passion and work ethic define who I am as a writer, person and friend which is why I hope to become successful in the sports Broadcasting spectrum in years to come.