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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

When The Red Sox Needed Him Most, Jon Lester Completely Let His Whole Team Down


After surviving a 14-inning game on Monday (a 10-8 win where they used eight pitchers), the Red Sox desperately needed a long outing from Jon Lester tonight. He didn't have to throw a gem, it was more about eating up innings and giving the bullpen a night off. Instead, Lester (6-3) couldn't get out of the fifth inning as he allowed seven earned runs in a 8-3 win by the Rays (35-29 overall, 20-12 home) at dumpy Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay hit four home runs as the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona, now called Roberto Hernandez (4-6) beat a team that his alter ego used to always struggle against. Hernandez went seven innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Other than Jacoby Ellsbury (2 for 5 with 2 runs, stolen base) and Jose Iglesias (2 for 4 with run), nobody on Boston (40-26 overall, 19-12 away) could really get it going at the plate.

The Red Sox actually led twice, very briefly, in the early innings. Dustin Pedroia had a sacrifice fly in the first but former Red Sox great James Loney tied it with a bases loaded walk in Tampa Bay's first at bat. Lester walked four Rays in the first, an awful start for his pitch count that he could never recover from.

Desmond Jennings (3 hits, 3 runs) had a solo homer to center in the second but Mike Napoli's two-run single in the third put Boston back on top 3-2. It was all downhill from there as the Rays scored twice in the third (RBI singles from Ryan Roberts and Jose Molina) before Evan Longoria hit a solo homer to right in the fourth and Matt Joyce (2 hits, walk) ended Lester's night with a two-run blast to right.

Poor Jose De La Torre was summoned for only his third appearance of the season (first since being recalled) and he was greeted with another solo shot by Jennings. He deserves credit though for finishing the game so no other pitchers had to come in for Boston.

It's only fitting that since nobody will watch tomorrow night's game (7:10 p.m., NESN), Alfredo Aceves (2-1) faces rookie Chris Archer (1-1) in the gross series finale. Both teams want that series victory but I predict I won't see any of it or at least care one bit since the Bruins and Blackhawks are facing off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals (8 p.m., NBC). Baseball can wait for another (slower) day.

UPDATE 6/12: Aceves takes De La Torre's spot on the roster and the rookie goes back to Pawtucket.

UPDATE 6/14: Pedro Ciriaco was traded to the Padres for a player to be named later or cash. Needing another reliever, the Red Sox sent Alex Wilson back to Pawtucket and called up Rubby De La Rosa.





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