Jon Lester was defective last night. Something was causing him to work incorrectly. Granted, he got the basics of 'throw ball to catcher' and 'occasionally find the strike zone' down, but the more advanced metrics used to judge pitchers, such as 'strike a bunch of people out' or 'don't hit batters with the ball' or 'do not throw four non-strikes in a single at-bat' tended to elude him slightly. Again, this is not the Jon Lester I adore. Something is wrong, and I don't know what. What I do know, or believe, is that he will eventually figure it out and get back on track. He's too good to struggle this much.
Despite my completely justified criticism of his performance, he actually DID record a quality start for the second time since the beginning of May (his two quality starts were May 3rd and May 25th). May 3rd, against the Angels, his record was 4-1 and he had a 2.33 ERA. After his performance against the Yankees last night, he is 8-2 with a 3.98 ERA. In April, he allowed 30 hits and 11 earned runs. In May, that went up to 41 hits and 22 earned runs. His BAbip went up .100 points between the two months from .257 to .357. His walks are slightly up (14 in April, 17 in May) and his strikeouts are also slightly up (35 in April, 39 in May), so I don't think it's that he's locating badly, I think he's just not getting the calls he was getting before, causing him to throw more pitches. He's incredibly lucky that he's gotten all the run support that he has, but that seems to be where his luck ends lately.
Anyway, enough about Jon Lester and his month of troubles. Freddy Garcia had far more troubles last night, only managing 1.2 innings, and allowing four runs and three walks. Girardi sure had him on a short leash last night. Pity, because we were having plenty of fun with him. CRW led off with a home run, Munchkin walked, and Ernie tripled. Yes, he tripled! It was insane. One sac fly later, we had our first three runs. In the second, Munchkin doubled in Salty for the fourth run, and in fifth, Papi hit a monster two-run home run to top off our scoring. It was a thing of beauty, and good lord, I love that David Ortiz fellow.
In the first, Lester hit two batters. One of those batters was eMpTy, who rolled around on the ground crying like he had just been set on fire. I have to say, if you're going to hit a batter, he's a good choice. Notice how Russel Martin didn't go into hysterics over a similar injury. On our side, Bobby Jenks managed to throw four pitches before tweaking his back. Looks like Jenks is probably headed back to the DL. Don't worry, we'll try not to miss you.
Percentage points. That's all between us and the Yankees. Tonight, Tim Wakefield takes his knuckleball of wonder against crazy old AJ Burnett and tries to put those percentage points behind us. You have my love and support, Tim. I believe in you!
Oh... I forgot to write more about Paps like I said I would. Oh well. You know what happened.