Jon Lester

I just think everyone should step back and take a look at what this young man has done. Not only has he become a top premier power lefty in the American League East, he has beaten cancer, worked incredibly hard to get back in shape (Francona couldn’t believe how fast he put on weight without adding onto his body fat count), and really worked to develope his offspeed stuff to finish off opponents. I remember what I was doing on the glorious night that he threw a no-hitter. I was on my way to 7-11 to buy a cup of coffee after work on my way to my girlfriend’s house when I turned on the radio to a VERY RARE missed Red Sox game (I definitely catch more than 130 every season and also hold a MILB.tv subscription to watch Pawtucket and Portland). It was the top of the 5th, no outs, and I believe Butler was at the plate for the Royals. I heard the announcers on XM Radio mutter that Lester had been dominant so far and had yet to let up a hit. Next thing I know BAM Butler’s down on strikes, BAM olivo’s down on strikes, and then Teahen hit a little chopper to end the inning. I’m sitting there like no way he’s going to pull this off. I mean I had always expected Lester to be an Andy Pettite kind of guy, but this kid’s already surpassing Andy in almost every way (look down for comparison).

Anyways the game went on and more and more Royals dropped to the dominant Lester. When he struck out Alberto Callaspo to end the game (I had been sitting in the 7-11 parking lot for about 25 minutes) I lost it! I started banging on the wheel of my car and clapping my hands. I’d never been so excited for a player in my entire life. Just everything he got through, to reach this moment and have the pieces all fall into place was great. The other thing that was touching, was right after the game when they asked what he was going to do to celebrate the first thing he said is, “I’m gonna call my Mom and Dad” and thanked everyone else on his team for giving him the opportunity to reach this accomplishment, savoring almost none of the credit or glamour for himself. He is just an unselfish, amazing kind of person who you hope more of the young players can follow. I can see why (as Lester puts it) Francona and the rest of the Red Sox staff cared for him through his cancer like family checking up on him and making sure that he kept his faith and strength to recover. Well Jon, you certainly made it all worth the wait and are a true gentleman. All salute the next franchise Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester.

Lester’s best year: 2008: 3.21ERA .256BAA 16-6 152k/66bb

Pettite’s best year (American League only):1997: 2.88ERA .256BAA 18-7 166k/65bb

Those numbers are very similar. A little higher ERA for Lester, but he also had a shakey start. Take away his first month and I’ll bet that ERA drops to at least 2.60. Lester is only 24 though, while Pettite is on the back end of his career and has posted a 4+ ERA almost every season in the American League. Lester I do not anticipate will follow this same track.

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