Carl Crawford has impressed all since returning from the disabled list, looking like the player he once was in Tampa Bay.
Maybe the Boston Red Sox should do with Jon Lester what they did with Daniel Bard. Because sending him out there every fifth day seems to hurt rather than help the team, resulting in losses almost every time out. Last night, Lester turned in yet another poor outing against the Chicago White Sox, going just four innings while allowing six runs and three walks. It’s been a frustrating season for Lester, who has had trouble giving his team the chance to win games. In his starts this season, the Sox are just 7-12. “It’s been a frustrating year, frustrating night, just keeps adding on and I’m getting tired of it,” Lester said to reporters after the game. “I try to make adjustments, try to do the things I need to do and I’m just not getting the results.”
A 5-7 record with a 4.80 ERA are certainly uncharacteristic numbers for the usually reliable Lester. Maybe he is having trouble with his mechanics like Daniel Bard, and the problems are now starting to affect him mentally. His fastball is slower than it used to be, and at just 28 years old that’s a concern for the Red Sox. How does a guy that used to reach 97 mph only have enough left to throw 93? Those four miles per hour have certainly made a difference in the contact made against Lester, mainly due to the fact that his other pitches are so similar in speed and his location is off. Josh Beckett learned to adjust when his fastball got slower, so it would seem as if Lester will need to do the same. Given the fact that he’s struggled to make adjustments that work this season, maybe he should seek out advice from Beckett. I know he isn’t the first guy one would think of asking given his history, but he has been through the same thing before. Hopefully, he can get this figured out or else I think the Sox may very well get rid of him before the trade deadline.
There was a positive that came out of last night’s game, however. Carl Crawford went 3-for-4 out of the number two hole, drove in his second RBI in as many games, stole three bases, and scored two runs. He’s only been back two games now, but by the looks of it he’s a completely different player than the man we saw struggle through his first season in Boston. He is patient and confident at the plate, waiting for his pitch to put a good swing on. Albeit all three hits were singles, but any solid contact at this point is a good sign. Perhaps even more impressive than his offensive prowess last night was his baserunning. He appeared to run like the Crawford of old, stealing bags with reckless abandon and knowing how slim the chances were that he’d get caught. It seems that he’s thinking very little and letting his talent take over, and while he claimed to have that mindset last season it seems as if it’s finally coming to fruition. So far, I’ve enjoyed watching him play and hope he continues to provide a spark from the top of the lineup. If he does, along with the production of Jacoby Ellsbury and the nearing return of Dustin Pedroia, the top of this Boston lineup could become the force it was expected to be at the beginning of the season. As long as the injury bug finds a new team to bite, that is.