While I still don't think Jon Lester is an ace pitcher, I have to admit he is pitching quite well this season. For someone looking to get a payday in his next contract, his timing is right on. Now for as well as Lester is pitching, Max Scherzer still has him beat. Here is a quick look at both pitchers and the batters they will be facing.
Lester is 4-4 with a 2.75 ERA this season. His highlight of the season came against Oakland when he had 15 strikeouts in 8 innings. In last season's ALCS he pitched two games against Detroit giving up only 3 runs over 11 2/3 innings of work. Current members of the Tigers have a career .377 batting average against him. Additionally, they have collected 16 walks while striking out 25 times.
The three biggest thorns in his side have been Rajain Davis, Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez. Davis has gone 11 for 36 (1 hr, 2 2B and 2 3B) with 10 strikeouts and 3 walks. Three of Torii Hunter's 11 hits have been double (23 at bats). Martinez is 6 for 13 with 1 home run and 1 triple.
Scherzer, the 2013 Cy Young winner, also had good ALCS numbers last year. In 13 1/3 innings of work he gave up 4 runs, 6 hits, 7 walks and had 21 strikeouts. This season he is holding batters to a .200 batting average. Once he has two outs, Scherzer has been pretty much un-hittable. He has yet to give up a 2 out RBI and is holding batters to a .074 average.
In the past David Ortiz and A.J. Pierzynski have hit him pretty well. Ortiz has a .467 average and 3 home runs. Pierzynski has gone 11 for 33 with 1 double, 1 triple and 1 home run. Pierzynski is not not in the lineup tonight as David Ross will one again be catching Lester.
Scherzer likes to throw his first pitch over the plate, so if you plan on taking your first pitch you better plan on being down 0-1. When he leaves the ball low and inside to lefties he usually gets punished. If you are a lefty and guess right on his breaking ball, it will likely be in the middle of the plate. Righties aren't as lucky as he keeps his off-speed pitches down and away from them. Able to hit 99 on his fastball, Scherzer's velocity is down a little this season.
If you don't know much about Max Scherzer, you may want to read this article. Keep your tissues ready.
Red Sox Lineup
- Pedroia 2B
- Sizemore RF
- Ortiz DH
- Napoli 1B
- Carp LF
- Bogaerts SS
- Bradley Jr. CF
- Middlebrooks 3B
- Ross C