Master(son) of His Craft? Angels-Sox Gamer III

Jon Lester laid another egg last night.

It’s not fun anymore, watching him pitch. On April 2, he threw a very nice game, a quality start with 6.2 shutout innings. In four starts since, he’s given up 29 hits in 21 innings, walked 13, struck out 9 and averaged — averaged — a Game Score of 37.

With Bartolo Colon slowly making his way back to the majors (slight delay for flu; yes, him too), it only seems a matter of time before the ticket to Pawtucket Lester seems insistent on writing for himself comes due.

That train may be coming faster than we realize. This afternoon, Justin Masterson makes his big-league debut. The kid who appears ready to challenge Sean Casey for his title as Nicest Guy in Baseball is shutting down AA hitters (4 starts, 19 IP, 14 H, 23 K, 5 BB, 0.93 ERA) and if he has any success today, it seems like it would be mighty hard to continue justify Lester’s existence in the rotation when it’s clear he has yet to figure out how to balance throwing strikes with throwing meatballs.

Feel free to use this as your all-purpose postmortem-slash-game thread.

140 comments… add one
  • Also interesting to look at the season thus far from the perspective of the Santana trade.
    On the one hand, Lester for Santana would be looking like a steal for the Sox, but where would we be without Lowrie filling in for Cora and now Masterson making the emergency start? Of course, Ellsbury and Buchholz are fulfilling their roles as untouchables quite nicely do far.

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 10:09 am
  • Chase Wright says you can dominate in AA but have a teensy bit of trouble in the majors. Still, Masterson is a much better prospect than Wright ever was. But it’s a big jump and shows how thin the Sox pitching depth is. Of course, with the Sox infield defense, if he can continue to induce groundballs (3:1 rate now), he could be very successful. Also note that Masterson hasn’t yet faced the fearsome Trenton lineup. He also hasn’t gone more than 5 IP this year.
    On the Santana trade, I don’t think it was ever going to be Lester/Crisp/Lowrie. I got the impression that the Twins needed either Ellsbury or Bucholz to complete the deal. In that regard, the Sox made the right call.

    A YF April 24, 2008, 10:24 am
  • And, you know, Hansen didn’t completely suck. He got K’s, didn’t walk anybody, left one up where it could get smashed, and was totally let down by his defense (he would have had 2.0 IP if Pedroia had caught that floater–or let Drew catch it).

    Devine April 24, 2008, 10:50 am
  • Yeah, I was impressed with Hansen. And in retrospect maybe I’m being too hard on Lester, who was pitching on short rest with about two hours’ notice — and volunteered to do so, at that.
    Yesterday was the first day we had all four of the stellar 2005 draft pick class on the active roster at the same time.
    I’m still in awe: Buchholz, Ellsbury, Lowrie, Hansen. Wow.

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 11:07 am
  • I agree that it doesn’t look very good for Lester these days, but I’m not ready to give up on him yet. Maybe he’ll never get over the hump, as most prospects never do, but he still has less than two full years of service time so far.
    Last year, the Mets stuck with Mike Pelfrey all season (albeit in a supporting/spot-starter role) and got nearly zilch from him. This year, he seems to finally be harnessing the control problems that have been his undoing. **knocks on wood** Pelfrey and Lester were born a week apart in January 1984 and made their MLB debuts in August 2006. If I can feel confident about Pelfrey, I have to do the same for Lester.

    FenSheaParkway April 24, 2008, 11:56 am
  • “If I can feel confident about Pelfrey, I have to do the same for Lester.”
    If you can feel confident about Pelfrey I can only assume you are an extreme glass half full kind of guy. His Washington outing was pretty impressive, but both the Philly outings were just ok. He threw 198 pitches in 10 innings of work total in 2 Philly starts. That tells me he is trying to be way too fine, that his stuff isn’t good enough to miss bats and that eventually things will catch up with him.
    As for Lester, the all knowing Steve Phillips said on BBTN that Lester’s #1 issue is that he needs to pitch down in the zone with his fastball. But much like Phil Hughes he is going to require some patience. Eventually I am sure his talent will shine through, as it will with Phil and IPK.

    John - YF April 24, 2008, 1:03 pm
  • “But it’s a big jump and shows how thin the Sox pitching depth is.”
    Take two of the five starters away from any team and they will suffer. That doesn’t show anything about pitching depth.
    As for dipping all the way to AA, that’s simply where their best prospect is and I’m betting they’re anxious to see how far he is along.

    mark April 24, 2008, 1:08 pm
  • “Take two of the five starters away from any team and they will suffer. That doesn’t show anything about pitching depth.”
    Where were you last year, when the Yankees lost four of five starters?

    AndrewYF April 24, 2008, 1:15 pm
  • Nervous pitching to Guerrero? He was EVERYWHERE that AB. Well, I’m only on Gameday, so I can’t really tell.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 1:40 pm
  • But it’s a big jump and shows how thin the Sox pitching depth is
    I don’t get this. AndrewYF is right on: no team, however deep in pitching talent, can sustain losing their #1 and #2 starters for any duration of time, much less four pitchers. The Yankees suffered last year not because they were thin in pitching talent, but because the talent they did have went missing or hurt. No team stashes multiple guys who can fill in the top of the rotation in the minors, that’s basically why they are in the minors. And teams like the Sox and Yanks barter those players, if they have a surplus (a rare feat nowadays) for other needs, as they should.
    Even teams as wealthy as the Sox and Yanks can’t afford to have prime major league talent sitting in AA, which is why we end up watching Chase Wright, or Dave Pauley, etc.

    SF April 24, 2008, 1:41 pm
  • 2 groundouts, a K, and a walk to the best hitter in the lineup. Nice beginning for a groundball pitcher.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 1:42 pm
  • The alleged buried Ortiz jersey auction has closed on e-bay.
    The winning bid was $175,100. Unbelieveable.
    As I dump on Hank, I must offer my thanks to him for the donation to the Jimmy Fund. Such a terrific ending to a very idiotic (if even true) story.

    I'm Bill McNeal April 24, 2008, 1:42 pm
  • And let me reiterate Paul’s main post: Jon Lester needs to learn his craft somewhere not called “Fenway Park”. Not sure who should replace him (it’s a legitimate question that perhaps Bartolo Colon can answer). Lester has everything ahead of him if he can work things out, but he really doesn’t seem ready for the Majors. I know that it is impossible to separate last year’s WS heroism from the story, but he’s frankly just not a very good pitcher, by any measure.

    SF April 24, 2008, 1:45 pm
  • Wait wait wait, do my eyes deceive me?
    Gameday: “Missed bunt”, for David Ortiz.
    Also, great idea to auction off the Ortiz jersey and donate the proceeds to the Jimmy Fund. Massive kudos to Hank.

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 1:48 pm
  • “As for dipping all the way to AA, that’s simply where their best prospect is and I’m betting they’re anxious to see how far he is along.”
    Agreed, Mark. It would have been much easier to let Tavarez start today. Or to call up Hansack or Holdzkom from P’tucket. Both are on the 40-man roster.

    I'm Bill McNeal April 24, 2008, 1:49 pm
  • This is definitely a move to see how far along Masterson is. With Lester looking like a minor leaguer the Sox really need to evaluate their other options.

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 1:51 pm
  • Well, he’s through the scary part of the line-up once. A few easy outs before facing them again.

    rootbeerfloat April 24, 2008, 1:53 pm
  • Anyone know who Sox dropped from the 40-man to activate JM? Of did they have some wiggle room? I just counted from the Web site and got 39, which doesn’t include Schilling.

    I'm Bill McNeal April 24, 2008, 1:54 pm
  • He can throw breaking pitches for strikes! How novel.
    Two walks, but looking good so far. Let’s see how he does his second time through…

    Devine April 24, 2008, 1:56 pm
  • Two 2-out walks given out by Masterson. Aside from those though, he’s looking good and throwing strikes. 37 pitches through 2IP.

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 1:57 pm
  • Manny Ramirez drinks your milkshake.

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:00 pm
  • Okay, crappy bit of the lineup…can you just hit a flyball at least?

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:04 pm
  • Go Lowrie, loads the bases

    Polf April 24, 2008, 2:04 pm
  • Lowrie singles and now the bases are loaded. Lugo up and then Crisp, whose back from his injury today. I’m confident in Lugo, but worried about Coco.

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:05 pm
  • Of course. Coco, if you GIDP…

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:07 pm
  • That’s exactly what Saunders needed there.

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:07 pm
  • ahhh now theres the Lugo we know and hate

    TJ April 24, 2008, 2:08 pm
  • I can haz runz?

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:10 pm
  • I’m confident in Lugo
    Your first mistake…

    SF April 24, 2008, 2:10 pm
  • RBI and out at first for Coco

    Polf April 24, 2008, 2:10 pm
  • God bless Coco?

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:12 pm
  • That was incredibly sucky and expected.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:12 pm
  • Lugo has been very hot at the plate lately. He’s looking a lot more confident than he was last year.
    Cash, however…

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:13 pm
  • Devine, nice lolcatz reference!

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:14 pm
  • Did we really have bases loaded and no one out… and scored one run?

    rootbeerfloat April 24, 2008, 2:14 pm
  • They just some fool who had just caught a foul ball and he was celebrating and dropped it over the balcony

    Polf April 24, 2008, 2:16 pm
  • Great play by Masterson to counter Figgins’ bunt. Two down, the rookie looking very solid.

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:16 pm
  • RBF – Yes

    Polf April 24, 2008, 2:16 pm
  • Yeah Polf, that was all over the TV the other night. Hilarious.
    This ump’s strikezone is pretty big. Good news for Masterson.

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:17 pm
  • Kevin Cash makes me hungry for toast.

    SF April 24, 2008, 2:17 pm
  • Hmmm, Masterson having trouble putting people away with 2 outs. GMJ singles.

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:18 pm
  • There are two things that define the (relatively small) gap separating me from people younger than me:
    Napoleon Dynamite
    Lolcatz
    The first I couldn’t stand; the second I find slightly amusing — mostly because the pictures are cute. Yet people just two years or more younger than me think these are hilarious works of art.

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 2:19 pm
  • Kevin Cash makes me hungry for toast

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:19 pm
  • Toast, as in Varitek, I assume…

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 2:20 pm
  • 1 baserunner per inning is a rate I can definitely bear.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:21 pm
  • Masterson already looking better than Lester.
    If he continues to excel (granted, it’s only two innings), is keeping him up and letting Lester work on his troubles in Pawtucket a realistic option?

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 2:21 pm
  • If he continues to excel (granted, it’s only two innings), is keeping him up and letting Lester work on his troubles in Pawtucket a realistic option?
    Do you really need anyone else to answer this?

    SF April 24, 2008, 2:24 pm
  • Mmmm. Toast.
    (yes, I am referring to Tek)

    SF April 24, 2008, 2:24 pm
  • Pedroia extends his hitting streak to 13 games!

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:26 pm
  • HEHE Pedroia dances his way out of the DP. Idiotic play by the 2nd baseman.

    Atheose April 24, 2008, 2:28 pm
  • Excellent. Run support? Maybe?

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:37 pm
  • Was he bunting for a hit? ’cause bunting expecting Lugo or Crisp to drive Youk in seems…risky, to be polite.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:40 pm
  • In play, run(s)!

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:42 pm
  • God Bless Coco!

    rootbeerfloat April 24, 2008, 2:42 pm
  • GRD Coco. NICE!

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:42 pm
  • Steal home, Crisp! It’s Kevin Cash, for f*ck’s sake!

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:43 pm
  • Now Cash to the triangle! Tremendous!

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:44 pm
  • Coco’s a nice guy to have as a back up outfielder, no?

    ponch April 24, 2008, 2:44 pm
  • TWO GRD in a row, from Coco and Cash, is that the 4 horseman I see, as hell starts freezing over

    Polf April 24, 2008, 2:44 pm
  • DOH! Napoli homer, crushed by the looks of Gameday. It’s all right, keep going…

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:49 pm
  • ‘kay, now just get Matthews so Vlad leads off next inning.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:52 pm
  • Yes. Think they’ll put him out for the 6th? Or is he done for the day after a very solid 5? 80 pitches.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 2:53 pm
  • Papi flys out to the triangle

    Polf April 24, 2008, 2:58 pm
  • put him out, yank him if he gets a baserunner. He’s earned that much

    ponch April 24, 2008, 2:58 pm
  • Agreed, ponch.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:02 pm
  • Leaving him in after the walk. maybe the pen is depleted from the flu?

    ponch-SF April 24, 2008, 3:06 pm
  • DP!

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:07 pm
  • Nice DP, it looks like he is struggling a little now

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:08 pm
  • NICE! I wish I was watching this live instead of on Gameday. i don’t see anything above 91 mph but he’s going a great job. Good movement on his stuff, or weird delivery?

    ponch-SF April 24, 2008, 3:08 pm
  • Awesome. Totally awesome.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:08 pm
  • nice debut, 1 ER, 2 hits over 6 innings

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:09 pm
  • Exactly 1 baserunner per inning.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:10 pm
  • Coco just misses HR off the monster

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:13 pm
  • Cash with his .250 average hasn’t been nearly as bad offensively as advertised. Maybe not as much power as Mirabelli, but at least his equal in getting on base.
    (I say this without looking at any numbers that might disprove this notion, but it FEELS right).

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 3:15 pm
  • Wow, Crisp has been great today…

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 3:18 pm
  • Ellsbury not so much.

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 3:18 pm
  • Yeah, we should trade Ellsbury and keep Crisp!!
    Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind after every game :)

    academic-SF April 24, 2008, 3:20 pm
  • My confidence level in Javier Lopez is very low. He is definitely my LFRS.

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 3:22 pm
  • its unlikely Masterson stays in Boston. But when he is optioned should it be to AAA?

    TJ April 24, 2008, 3:23 pm
  • Lopez sux

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:23 pm
  • They were already talking about Masterson being promoted to AAA, so I’d imagine so. I say keep him up unless or until he starts struggling, but maybe they fear a Craig Hansen redux…

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 3:24 pm
  • There pulling Lopez for Delcarman

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:26 pm
  • Lopez sucks so bad. I wish he’d get a career-ending but non-life-debilitating injury…or be DFA’d. Yeah, yeah, who else do we have? etc. etc.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:26 pm
  • Wow, according to GameDay MDC just threw an 85 mph fastball… he must still be sick.
    On a side note, I really like GameDay’s new/improved video feature.

    academic-SF April 24, 2008, 3:30 pm
  • now Delcarman cant through a strike

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:30 pm
  • Jesus, Delcarmen, that was awful. THIS is awful.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:30 pm
  • Argh, I knew that squander last inning would haunt us — never mind starting out the inning with Lopez instead of Delcarmen.

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 3:31 pm
  • wow, 7 pitches to throw a stike

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:32 pm
  • Oy. Poor effin’ Masterson is gonna get jobbed.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:33 pm
  • Oki’s coming in

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:33 pm
  • See, i have a question. the game is one the line NOW. Why not bring in Paps here?

    ponch-SF April 24, 2008, 3:35 pm
  • WHY DIDN’T YOU BRING OKAJIMA IN IN THE FIRST PLACE IF YOU CAN BRING HIM IN NOW I HATE YOU!!!!
    Seriously, though. It should have been Oki or Delcarmen starting this inning. Please get rid of Lopez, Theo, pleeeeease. I’d rather try Hansen out in Lopez’s spot than watch that loser pitch anymore.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:35 pm
  • Tied game, no outs, noooooooooooo!

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:38 pm
  • Screwed, so very screwed.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:38 pm
  • I can’t watch this crap…

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 3:39 pm
  • yes gamedays video update is nice. though I hate that large add on the right side…. now u cant get all the Sox offensive info without scrolling.
    GOD DAMN THIS BULLPEN!

    TJ April 24, 2008, 3:40 pm
  • I’m watching House in 20 minutes, this inning maybe over by then

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:42 pm
  • OMG 1st out of the inning

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:43 pm
  • This is dismal.
    A rookie comes in and throws six solid innings of one-run ball, leaving with a good chance for his first MLB win… then the regulars from the pen come in and cough up five runs without getting an out.

    Hudson April 24, 2008, 3:44 pm
  • Youk may have just injured himself hitting his knee into the tarp

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:48 pm
  • Oki is um, cowboying up with two successive Ks… But not out of it yet.

    Hudson April 24, 2008, 3:49 pm
  • Tito really screwed the pooch on this one. Not that Delcarmen was at all effective when his time came, but is it not supposed to be Delcarmen-Okajima-Papelbon to close out a game? Relying on Lopez is prima facie foolish at this stage.

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 3:50 pm
  • One more…

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:50 pm
  • Thank god thats over

    Polf April 24, 2008, 3:54 pm
  • Well, thank God that’s over.

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 3:54 pm
  • Squeezes through. I’m still so mad on Masterson’s behalf.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 3:55 pm
  • Haha, truly the only thought one could have after such a hellish experience…

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 3:55 pm
  • i wont hold Delcarmens performance against him since he had the flu and juding hiow long Tek has been out, one must figure Delcarmen wasnt totally over it.
    He obviously had no confidence in Aardsma which makes me wonder why they didnt just designate him and keep Hansen.

    TJ April 24, 2008, 3:55 pm
  • I don’t understand why there is still confidence in Lopez. This inning doesn’t get off the ground — or it’s at least no worse than a tie game — if Delcarmen or Okajima come in first. *sigh*

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 4:02 pm
  • Double from Manny

    Polf April 24, 2008, 4:03 pm
  • Manny is on 2nd with 2 out. Get a base hit, Youuuuuuk.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 4:03 pm
  • It looked like Manny was out and the Angel outfielders hit each after he had caught it he dropped the ball

    Polf April 24, 2008, 4:04 pm
  • Sheeeeeeeyit.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 4:05 pm
  • Youk grounded out

    Polf April 24, 2008, 4:05 pm
  • I would like to add that this request to DFA Lopez and bring in Hansen is from someone who blindly hated Hansen by the end of ’06 and realizes he gave up a homer yesterday.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 4:12 pm
  • Ruh roh. 2 on, 2 out for the Angels.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 4:14 pm
  • Two quick outs from Aardsma, followed by two baserunners.
    Is this how Yankee fans felt last year? Because I’m not liking it…

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 4:14 pm
  • Ouch, this ballgame is pretty much on ice now.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 4:19 pm
  • Out of it.
    If you need some comic relief, I *highly* recommend:
    RED SOX BATTING STANCES:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m0cyvfvMK0
    YANKEES BATTING STANCES:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNZnczEo9rE
    Truly hilarious.

    Hudson April 24, 2008, 4:23 pm
  • I haven’t looked yet, Hudson, but it’s bound to be better than the relief provided by the bullpen.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 4:25 pm
  • Let us know what you think…
    He’s also got one of miscellaneous 80s batting stances, and another of Cardinals batters (why?). The guy is a natural physical comic.

    Hudson April 24, 2008, 4:28 pm
  • (Sox go quietly in the bottom of the 8th. Sigh.)

    Hudson April 24, 2008, 4:29 pm
  • Hudson those are awesome. His mo vaughn is my favorite.
    Thanks.

    sam-yf April 24, 2008, 4:33 pm
  • I like his post-swing leaving-the-batter’s-box impressions almost as much as the prep and swing parts…

    Hudson April 24, 2008, 4:40 pm
  • Bottom of the 9th, (totally unnecessary) 3-run deficit… Casey PH’ing for Cash.

    Hudson April 24, 2008, 4:41 pm
  • (Sorry, 4-run deficit. Arrgh.)

    Hudson April 24, 2008, 4:42 pm
  • Is it just me, or could Kevin Cash have struck out looking for himself? (Frustrated)

    QuoSF April 24, 2008, 4:43 pm
  • Heh heh, think they’ll bring K-Rod in?

    Devine April 24, 2008, 4:48 pm
  • 2 run shot from Papi

    Polf April 24, 2008, 4:48 pm
  • HA! Eat it. I hope Manny gets on just to make them really sweat.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 4:49 pm
  • Ah well…
    That will probably be easily the worst loss of April.
    DFA LOPEZ!!!

    Devine April 24, 2008, 4:53 pm
  • Game over, Manny flies out to centre

    Polf April 24, 2008, 4:54 pm
  • Oh wait, SoSH makes a good point…I forgot about the Toronto series…still probably worse, though.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 4:56 pm
  • And Hudson…funny, totally funny.

    Devine April 24, 2008, 5:10 pm
  • Terrible loss. Hang this one on the bullpen. A terrible job by Lopez, and boo on Francona for even using him.

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 5:24 pm
  • “Is this how Yankee fans felt last year? Because I’m not liking it…”
    I dunno, kinda reminds me of the 2006 Red Sox bullpen.

    AndrewYF April 24, 2008, 5:33 pm
  • The Red Sox’ bullpen was the least of the Sox’ problems that year — relievers actually were half a run better than the starters, never mind the offensive implosion fueled by the injuries in August and September.

    Paul SF April 24, 2008, 5:58 pm
  • Wow, the box score indicates some brutal managing by Tito, and I don’t really even know what happened.
    The Sox need to see another start from Masterson. Lester needs to sit or get sent down, that should still be a viable option, right?

    SF April 24, 2008, 6:14 pm
  • The Master returned to P’tucket; Bryan Corey recalled.
    Ew.

    I'mBillMcNeal April 25, 2008, 8:31 am
  • ‘Scuse me. The Master was returned to Portland, home of Sea Dog beer, not P’tucket.

    I'mBillMcNeal April 25, 2008, 8:35 am

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