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Monday, June 12, 2006


Please note that this post was written on Friday evening, but due to technical difficulties or just my own ineptitude, it was not posted. And since Lester appears to be the fifth starter for now, it is still relevant.

With the rainout, I thought the Sox would pitch Clement on Saturday and Pauley on Sunday. Clement’s arm issue, after this best performance in sometime - WTF, has the Sox pushing him back a day, thereby keeping a spot open for Lester and making me rain on the prospect’s parade.

The Herald printed that Lester…is 3-4 overall this year with a 2.70 ERA, but he is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his past six starts.

Damn, that looks impressive and with the repeated glowing scouting report on Lester, "...they're unstoppable." now with or without throwing in Wakefield. But some numbers are misleading like ERA (I hope by now my regular readers, which seem to be the only kind, just skip over win-loss record) even a kick a$$ rate of 0.90. ERA is an okay measure of past performance, but to be used as an indicator of future production is a terrible mistake.

Taking a closer look at Lester's past six starts indicate that he has had increasing control problems. Starting with his most recent start, Lester walked five over four innings, three in 5.1, four in five, two over 5.2, none in five and one over five innings. Lester has not consistently controlled the strike zone over his last six ERA sick starts. In the Show, a pitcher has to throw it over the plate or bad things happen most times out (i.e. Matt Clement). Against a patient Texas lineup, it could get nasty on Saturday.

If strikeout rate is a measure of Lester's stuff rather than the scouting report, then he has not been that impressive either over his last six. Lester averaged 7.2 K/9 innings. It is a good rate, but not great and not worthy of a top prospect with his walk rate.

Since Lester has been on a strict pitch count, he has averaged only five innings over these last ERA great starts. So unless the Sox take the training wheels off, Lester will not give them innings either when it is most critical playing four games in three days.

Hopefully, Lester proves me and the numbers wrong; pitches a gem on Saturday and becomes a solid starter for the Sox this season and beyond. Some guys step up given their circumstances. I’m just not betting the farm on Lester yet.


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