Eager Red Sox SP Lester hopes to bounce back
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) As bad as 2012 was for the Boston Red Sox, it was equally bad for Jon Lester. So, count him among the many players itching to get back at it.
Lester, a left-hander, went 9-14 with a career-high 4.82 ERA last year. That he posted a team-high 17 quality starts only highlighted the frustration that enveloped the team all season. In the second half, as the Red Sox saw any hope of a respectable season slipping away, Lester was 4-8 with a 5.23 ERA. As a result, he became one of the poster boys for a team that symbolized dysfunction. In the end, the Red Sox finished 69-93 and in last place of the American League East.
So, Lester, who turned 29 in January and is entering his eighth season, knows many eyes will be on him this season. And without veteran Josh Beckett, among other familiar faces, in the Boston rotation this year, he knows what his role is.
"I love it. It's great. Bring it on," he said Wednesday, a day after pitchers and catchers reported to JetBlue Park. "Because what you guys expect of me is nothing (compared to what) I expect of myself. I expect a lot. That's why as far as me being serious, that's why I am the way I am. I try to live up to my own expectations before everybody else's. Obviously, that's never going to happen.
"But I take my job serious and I want to reach those (expectations). Just because I don't doesn't mean it's a failed season."
Boston manager John Farrell, who was the Red Sox pitching coach from 2007-10, could be a key. After two years as manager in Toronto, he is back with the Red Sox and Lester, who had some of his best seasons during Farrell's previous tenure.
"He's a vital member of our team and certainly our rotation," Farrell said. "Just having Jon pitch to his capabilities and his talent, there's a number of years that speak to that."
August's blockbuster trade with the Dodgers saw the dispatching of Beckett, Lester's close friend. As such, the latter is now the longest-tenured member of the rotation, and will be looked on as a leader.
"There are those who lead by example - how they carry themselves between the lines, (how they put in the) work that they do when no one sees them in between starts, (how they) stand up and acknowledge that when things don't go well, (they) take responsibility for that," Farrell said. "There's different ways that people show their leadership capabilities or skills. And he has those."
But Lester knows there are things - other than command and mechanics - that need work. He has often been criticized for his demeanor on the mound - the body language and the verbal griping that can't disguise his displeasure. He knows those are things that have to change.
"I know I've had some problems with umpires. I know I've had some problems with body language at times. A lot of people have," Lester said. "It's something that we all struggle with and it's something I can get better with. Every year, I strive to get better at it."
Boston can sometimes be a roadblock in that quest. There is a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations, and a lot of media watching his every move.
"I love baseball. I love Boston," he said. "People don't see me other than the fifth day. When I'm out there, I'm not out there to kid around. I'm not out there to joke around with hitters. At the same time, I'm having fun. It may not look like it. I may be cussing up a storm and yelling at somebody, but I'm having fun. I love to pitch. I love everything that is pitching, everything there is to baseball."
Lester won 34 games in the previous two seasons leading up to last year.
"I don't want to also come across as lackadaisical and not really caring about working hard. I take everything I do very seriously. I want my workouts to be the way they should be. I want my bullpen (session) to go the way it should. I want my game to go the way it should," he said. "If it doesn't, I'm going to be (upset). That's just who I am. At the same time, yeah, I can improve on those in-between days where you don't take it as serious. But I'd rather be on the serious side and work my way down than be the goofball and work my way up."
Despite all the negatives last season, Lester insists there were positives, too. There where he wants his focus.
"Hopefully, you just keep building off those," he said, "and your expectations get higher and higher from there."
Updated February 13, 2013
In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.
Mike Florio joined the program to discuss the Jets decision to release Tim Tebow, he said the situation is as disaster all around for the Jets and that the problems begins with owner Woody Johnson. Mike also said that he was disappointed with the Pats moving back in the first round.
One of the hardest working men in the biz, Mike Petraglia aka "Trags", sits down with Butch Stearns live in Foxborough to help break down all the latest Pats moves. He discusses his reaction to the trade in Round 1 and the guys those picks produced. Also, the boys talk about the decent trade the Pats made in acquiring LeGarrette Blount from Tampa Bay for Jeff Demps and a 7th rounder.
We check in with Danny Ainge for our first talk to him since the Celtics season ended last weekend. We talk about the future of the team, KG, Pierce, Doc Rivers and more, as Danny directly answers the rumors being floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Jackie Mac joins the show to discuss the trade rumors swirling around Paul Pierce, KG, Doc Rivers and the Celtics. She also discusses the future of the Celtics head coach.
Stephen A. joined the program to discuss the trade rumors he has reported regarding a possible trade including Doc Rivers and the Clippers. Stephen A. also told the guys that he has heard that Danny and Doc may be tiring of working together.
Buster Olney joins Mut and Merloni to talk about the struggling Ellsbury and what that is doing to his contract value when he becomes a free agent.
Terry Francona joins the Dennis and Callahan Show to discuss his first-place Indians team as well as his time in Boston. The former Boston manager also touches on his recent book co-authored by Dan Shaughnessy and Shaughnessy's recent dust-up with David Ortiz.
Joe Castiglione talked with John Lackey after he picked up the W against the Twins. Lackey threw seven innings, and retired the 1st twelve batters of the game.
McGuire joins Mut and Merloni to discuss the Bruins game 3 win, the Rangers awful power play, and the Shawn Thornton Derek Dorsett altercation.
Shawn joined the program to discuss his big night at MSG. He told the guys that it is not Marchand's job to fight and that he needs to be on the ice and out of the penalty box.
Cleveland Indians hottest team in baseball, yet remain last in attendance May 19, 2013 By AJ Kaufman 6 Comments There’s a scene in Major League where Bob Uecker, portraying the radio voice of the Indians, bemoans, “In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven’t, the Indians have managed to win a few here and there, and are threatening to climb out of the cellar.” Well, that was nearly 25 years ago and fictional, but today’s reality is that Cleveland has won 17 of its last 21, and currently tops the AL Central with a mark of 25-17. No one in the majors is better than the Indians in the past month (20-7). That’s great news. The bad news, however, is the Tribe somehow remain in the MLB cellar when it comes to attendance. How can this be? The fact that I wrote on this same topic almost to the day last year – when only Tampa Bay drew fewer fans than Cleveland - may be even more troubling. Though roughly 34,000 watched a walk-off win Friday night against Seattle, perfect weather and free caps weren’t enough to draw more than 36,000 Saturday and Sunday combined. What did the Indians do in those tilts? They nabbed another walk-off win on Saturday, then the Indians crushed the great Felix Hernandez Sunday behind Justin Masterson, arguably the AL’s best pitcher right now. Fun fact: The Indians have already faced eight Cy Young Award winners in 2013: Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jake Peavy, David Price, Justin Verlander and Hernandez. They have won seven out those eight matchups. Simply astounding. This offseason, the much-maligned Indians front office finally made a legitimate attempt to improve the team through free agency. I’m not talking an Ubaldo Jimenez-like trade, but rather smart acquisitions that brought veterans Mike Aviles, Michael Bourn, Jason Giambi, Scott Kazmir, Brett Myers, Mark Reynolds, Drew Stubbs and Nick Swisher to Cleveland. In addition to being a fantastic place to watch a game due to great egress and ingress, with extremely affordable tickets, the best promo lineup anywhere, Jacobs Field boasts overall, cooler, less muggy summer weather than most Midwestern locales. The team also lowered beer and hot dog prices to $4 and $3 respectively. What other professional stadium in any sport offers that? I have visited 28 of the 30 current Major League Baseball stadia, and few top The Jake when all angles are considered. I say that as a baseball fan, not an Indians fan. As for the putative “economic” angle, these are the same people who spend insane amounts of money to watch terrible football every fall and show up in decent numbers for putrid basketball in the winter. Irrespective of season length, those sports charge up to 10 times the price for a ticket, and the atmosphere isn’t half as fan-friendly as baseball. I understand fans’ lack of willingness to get on board to some degree. A decent recap of Cleveland’s decade of “rebuilding” can be read here and the team suffered a horrific collapse last August. However, in addition to all the benefits of attending games at Jacobs (now Progressive) Field, fans should also realize the team has potential and often exceeds preseason aspirations at any point without warning. Cleveland hosts the rival Detroit Tigers — heavy favorites to repeat as AL Central champs — Tuesday and Wednesday nights before hitting the road. The temperature should be pleasant at first pitch each evening so you’d expect The Jake to be full to watch the best hitter on the planet right now — but don’t count on it.
Our afternoon host Mike Salk was offended at Gerry and Kirk's conversation on his favorite band Rush, the guys responded.
Mut and Merloni discuss the Derek Dorsett, Brad Marchand, and Shawn Thornton altercation and how great it was.
We talk to #54 about his career and well deserved induction to the Patriots Hall of Fame.
We tackle four off-topic topics! Today including RGIII's wedding registry, Tiger Woods, new putters in golf and more.
We check in with ESPN's great hockey analyst and former NHL coach Barry Melrose to get his take on this Bruins-Rangers series. We also ask the coach in him how he'd deal with the great play of the rookie defensemen when the vets get healthy... and his answer might surprise you.
The Bruins look to take a 3-0 series lead, Jon Lester gets his first loss, Dwight Howard has options in free agency.
Today on the Daily Planet the Bruins have a 2-0 lead over the New york Rangers, the Red Sox are back on the winning sde of things, and the noteable birthdays of the day.
The Bruins have almost finished raking the Leafs, the Red Sox struggle from the mound, Miami Heat fans show their level of class.
They're like a ray of morning sunshine on an otherwise gloomy day.
....uhhhh.....a bunch of bombs over there....
Sounds like a prostate exam to me!
Linda explains how the shootout transpired in Watertown during the early morning hours. She saw the first suspect mortally wounded and police beginning the manhunt for the second suspect.More from this show
Jeff Bauman, a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing, joined the show to give the guys an update of his condition and a first-hand account of that terrible day. Jeff told the guys how he wrote the description of the bomber as soon as he could. Mr. Bauman added that he is aided every day with the knowledge that he is alive and the terrorist that detonated the bomb is dead.More from this show
Buster Olney joins the show to discuss the muddled AL East, the average play of Ellsbury and how that will affect him in free agency, and Tropicana Field.More from this show
Elliotte Friedman joined the show to discuss the Bruins domination of the series thus far. He said that while nothing is certain he cannot see a way in which the Rangers come back and win the series.More from this show