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Jon Lester strikes out a career-high 15 batters in win over Athletics

May 3, 2014, 4:28 PM EDT

Jon Lester AP AP

Jon Lester struck out a career-high 15 batters and allowed just one hit over eight scoreless innings this afternoon in a 6-3 victory over the Athletics in Fenway Park in Boston.

It was a dominant performance from Lester, who walked two batters on the day and gave up his lone hit on a single by Craig Gentry in the third inning. The southpaw struck out the final three batters he faced in the eighth inning and was pulled after throwing 119 pitches. The A’s made things interesting after Chris Capuano took over in the top of the ninth inning, but Koji Uehara managed to snuff out the rally to secure the victory, albeit in shaky fashion.

Lester’s previous career-high for strikeouts was 13, which he did on July 24, 2010 against the Mariners. The 30-year-old is the first Red Sox pitcher to strike out 15 batters in a game since Pedro Martinez did it in 2000.

Lester, an impending free agent, now holds a 2.59 ERA and 58/10 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings over seven starts this season. Perhaps the Red Sox should have been a bit more generous during extension talks in the spring?

  1. mesanford - May 3, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Reblogged this on Marcus Sanford and commented:
    Like in business, most accomplishments in baseball are a team effort. Even something like a new record for strikeouts isn’t a solo affair. There is the aid of the catcher, of course — but also the trainers, nutritionists, manager, position coaches and more behind the scenes whose contributions all build up to these moments.

    Take the time to recognize the entire team behind your wins at work.

    • yahmule - May 3, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      Way to suck all the air out of the room there, Marcus.

    • 18thstreet - May 3, 2014 at 5:39 PM

      Well, I’ve learned my lesson.

      • historiophiliac - May 3, 2014 at 6:30 PM

        Why do I severely doubt that?

    • gothapotamus90210 - May 3, 2014 at 10:21 PM

      Cool story, bro.

  2. daveitsgood - May 3, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Kelloggs strike zone also contributed to those 15.

  3. aceshigh11 - May 3, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    Nicely done!

    Now about that contract extension…

  4. cohnjusack - May 3, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    Strikeouts per 9 innings in Major League Games:

    2014: 15.8
    2013: 15.2
    2012: 15.2
    2011: 14.2
    2010: 14.2
    2005: 12.8
    2000: 13.0
    1995: 12.8
    1990: 11.4
    1985: 10.8
    1980: 9.6

    • historiophiliac - May 3, 2014 at 7:16 PM

      Wow, Scherzer and Verlander sure bumped up the average, eh? :)

      • aceshigh11 - May 3, 2014 at 7:30 PM

        You’re such a fangirl. ;)

    • aceshigh11 - May 3, 2014 at 7:29 PM

      Does this include both teams, and starters plus relievers?

      Pretty amazing…it reinforces the notion that we’re living in a new golden age of pitching, and it may explain why surgeries are on the rise. These dazzling performances are coming at a cost to arm health.

      Pitching overhand has always been a violent, somewhat unnatural arm motion, but couple that with new types of pitches and the desire for ever more velocity, and well, it’s no surprise.

  5. Jack Marshall - May 3, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    Lester’s game score, I think, was 93. Damn impressive for 8 innings.
    Yes, the wide strike zone helped about 5 K’s worth, but JL was in top form.

    He’s still not the guy I’d give the ball to in a must-win game. That would be Lackey.

    • tfbuckfutter - May 3, 2014 at 9:32 PM

      Glad you’re not calling shots.

      I am still equally surprised by Lester having a bad game as I am by Lackey having a good one.

      1 good season doesn’t erase one mediocre one, one god awful one, and one lost entirely to injury.

      Comparatively, 1 mediocre season doesn’t erase 4 ace seasons and one really good bounce back.

      • Jack Marshall - May 4, 2014 at 5:13 AM

        Yeah, well, watch. Lester’s post season was notably out of character with his career pattern, which has been to choke in big games and when the Sox need him to step up. His performance against the Yankees in Fenway was the most recent example. Lackey was obviously hurt all three years with Sox before the last one, which fit right in line with how he had performed with the Angels. You’re surprise when he pitches a good game? Then you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  6. APBA Guy - May 3, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    The A’s appeared unable to adjust to the 1990’s Atlanta Braves style strike zone, despite the ump being consistent in his calls from the first pitch. Credit Lester with taking what the ump was giving him, and also not looking too concerned in the dugout when Capuano was barfing up all over the 9th inning, forcing a hurry-up rescue call to Uehara.

  7. pastabelly - May 3, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    This could be Lester’s last year in Boston. He’s pricing himself out what management deems he’s worth. I suppose lefties like Lester who can pitch well in Boston and have outstanding post season records are so easily replaced. I am very disappointed that this pitcher, who is also a class act, can’t get a deal done with the Red Sox. If they try to portray him as greedy or even unrealistic and ungrateful, nobody will ever believe them. They are screwing around with wrong guy.

    • Jack Marshall - May 4, 2014 at 5:26 AM

      1. I think they’ll sign him.
      2. He’s just not that good. Very good, not great.
      3. He flopped down the stretch in 2011 when the Sox needed him desperately to step up. He stunk all 2012 for no discernible reason. He was the Sox’s third best starter in 2013.
      4. He’s a great #2 pitcher (the Sox have three of them); he’s no ace on a contender.
      5. If he wants Scherzer money, the Sox will be correct to let him walk.

      • pastabelly - May 4, 2014 at 5:48 AM

        I don’t know what you mean by “that” good. I suppose it means you believe the Red Sox shouldn’t pay Lester what he can get on the open market. Sure, save three freaking dollars and find a replacement. Great thinking. Peavy has this one last year left as well and Lackey you have through next year. After that, you have Doubront and maybe Buccholz. If Lester winds up in NY, the Red Sox can be proud that they held tight at $75M for four years. They are freaking geniuses.

  8. disgracedfury - May 3, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    Hope you Red Sox fans like Lester because he gone next year and like the Red sox said they don’t do “Yankees” deals by giving big contract they will lose there best pitcher.

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