There are a lot of pictures of Jon Lester floating around right now, and God knows he deserves it.  But last night Jacoby Ellsbury saved the no-hitter, albeit well in advance of many people (including myself) thinking about such a possibility.   It was one of those plays (like Pedroia’s grab during Clay’s gem last year) that adds depth to the hermeticism of a "no-hitter", a term describing the accomplishment of shutting down an opponent that veils the individual plays which make such an event possible.

We’ve discussed it at this site several times, and even considering the troubles with the youngsters in the Bronx at the moment, it sure is nice for both of our fan-bases to have young, home-grown players for whom we root.  Sox fans are getting a taste of what Yankee fans felt during the run of the late 90s, a fine squad of veterans mixed with talented youngsters, and it’s tremendously enjoyable (when it works, of course!). Last night was another reminder of growing up, of my youth, when a first outing (or a first or second season) by a highly touted farmhand was met with anticipation and excitement, that excitement further heightened by accomplishment.

Congratulations (and thanks) to Jon Lester. And, by extension (literally!), Jacoby Ellsbury.

26 comments… add one
  • Simply amazing stuff, thank you Mr. Lester.
    Also, seriously, there might be 5 or 6 outfielders in baseball that can even get to that ball, let alone catch it like Jacoby did, and the Red Sox have two of them!

    LocklandSF May 20, 2008, 10:26 am
  • This is certainly an awesome time to be a Sox fan…must be nice! I get hyped when a Yankee pitcher makes it through 6 innings.

    krueg May 20, 2008, 10:50 am
  • To be fair, I get hyped when Lester makes it through six as well.

    Brad May 20, 2008, 10:57 am
  • However, in my opinion, tonight is the real deal of red sox youngster pitchers. Clay’s potential is high, but I think Masterson will be better than both he and Lester.

    Brad May 20, 2008, 10:59 am
  • Speaking of young pitchers, anybody know anything this Yu Darvish (Dice-K 2.0 as the ESPN wags call him) coming from Japan?
    His Dad seemed to hint that the Northeast (i.e. Boston and New York) would be desirable locations if and when he came over.

    SoxFan May 20, 2008, 11:48 am
  • Nice game Lester! And props to my Oregon compadre Ellsbury, too.

    nettles May 20, 2008, 11:58 am
  • I’ve heard a lot about Yu Darvish in the last week too, both the Sox and Yanks seem to be interested in him. Red Sox scouts have said that he is “very special”, though that’s not very descriptive.
    His stats can be found here:

    Atheose May 20, 2008, 12:00 pm
  • Soxfan, I think BP did something on him not too far back. I will see if I can dig it up.

    John - YF May 20, 2008, 12:01 pm
  • Mike Plugh at Canyon of Heroes, who is an expert on Japanese ball, wrote this:

    SF May 20, 2008, 12:06 pm
  • According to that article:
    The rumors indicated that the Yankees have expressed interest in acquiring Darvish via the posting system next season and are reportedly willing to blow away the posting fee that was given to Seibu for Matsuzaka.
    Holy potatoes!

    Atheose May 20, 2008, 12:26 pm
  • Great. Perhaps he can follow in the same honored tradition as other NYY-acquired Japanese pitchers Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa.

    IronHorse (yf) May 20, 2008, 12:31 pm
  • Congrats to Lester and the rest of the Sox!
    With all due respect to the great accomplishment of last night. I am surprised no one has said anything about Tek. Is it a coincidence that he is the only catcher to catch 4 no-hitters? I would say he is the other unsung hero. The man knows his pitchers and batters and knows how to call a game – I think he deserves props as well for getting Lester through it last night.

    Jonathan May 20, 2008, 12:35 pm
  • I’ve always heard that ‘Tek spends hours pouring over notes and gametape before every game to study opposing lineups, and that he’s the hardest working catcher in the bigs. I mentioned that here on the blogs a month or so ago, and the general consensus was that he’s just average and that catchers have a relatively small amount of influence. Anyone thinking differently now? ;-)
    By the way, here are Darvish’s stats so far this season:
    His ERA after 6 starts is 0.69, with a WHIP of 0.673. Simply amazing. He’s a lot like Buchholz, in the sense that he’s tall and skinny and will gain a lot of power once he puts on some more muscle. And he’s already throwing 98.

    Atheose May 20, 2008, 12:40 pm
  • Jon –
    I mentioned it in the thread last night – as did another poster.

    Brad May 20, 2008, 1:25 pm
  • “The rumors indicated that the Yankees have expressed interest in acquiring Darvish via the posting system next season and are reportedly willing to blow away the posting fee that was given to Seibu for Matsuzaka.”
    I thought Bud the Used Car Salesman planned to do away with that idiotic posting system.

    I'm Bill McNeil May 20, 2008, 1:27 pm
  • What has not been mentioned (I don’t think) is that Tek would (OK, might) have 6 no-hitters if Pedro and Schill hadn’t shaken him off.
    That’s more than co-incidence. Maybe not a lot more, but more.

    I'm Bill McNeil May 20, 2008, 1:30 pm
  • The general consensus has been that Tek is a good, but not great catcher, when you use what data is available for his defensive and offensive performance. The problem with evaluating a catcher is that it’s almost impossible to measure game/pitcher management, leadership, etc.
    So, while I think these relative intangibles are more significant with a catcher than they are with other positions, it’s still not clear to me how much of a direct impact they have.
    I know this though, the pitching staff swears by Tek’s abilities to call games. This almost has to lead to more confidence, which I don’t think can ever really be a bad thing.

    LocklandSF May 20, 2008, 1:34 pm
  • “I thought Bud the Used Car Salesman planned to do away with that idiotic posting system.”
    Yeah, I don’t think that would fly with the Japanese corporate owners.

    LocklandSF May 20, 2008, 1:36 pm
  • BTW, that Yu Darvish the next great pitching thing stuff is all BS.
    Yu Darvish is the next great thing all right. It’s a new type of ham sold only in Japan by the Nippon Ham Co. It contains a new blend of spices and is injected with a saki/water concoction that gives it its special flavor. Apparently its all the rage in Japan, partly because Nippon’s marketing people made up a baseball player of the same name.

    I'm Bill McNeil May 20, 2008, 1:38 pm
  • Re: Tek. What’s sad, Lock, is that Piazza is considered one of the great catchers of the last couple of decades and he can’t field his position. Never could. But he’s a likely hall-of-famer.
    Tek isn’t quite the hitter, but a far superior defensive player with 2 rings. He ain’t goin’ to the Hall of Fame.
    Re: Bud. They might not like it, but the posting system is not fair to 75 percent of MLB teams. And I seem to remember that Bud said the system would be changed after the atrocious amount of money posted for Dice-K.

    I'm Bill McNeil May 20, 2008, 1:45 pm
  • The Japanese would have to agree to it, and I don’t see that happening.

    LocklandSF May 20, 2008, 1:48 pm
  • Good point. I don’t see them agreeing to it, either. Why pass on a windfall?

    I'm Bill McNeil May 20, 2008, 1:51 pm
  • Brad – My bad for not seeing your post yesterday, sorry.
    Tek is not the greatest offense or defensive catcher, it would be silly to argue otherwise. I also would agree that its hard to measure the ‘behind the plate’ game calling. The only way I would know how (off the top of my head) is to look at when he hasn’t been behind the plate – compared to when he has been (stints on the DL) with the same pitchers. That being said those numbers are much fewer than those of him behind the plate – statistical relevance – small.
    I did get the sense that when he was out we did loose a lot more games (2006 31 games out only 9 wins). I am not an expert but – creating a solid metric on 31 games would be difficult.

    Jonathan May 20, 2008, 3:11 pm
  • I did get the sense that when he was out we did loose a lot more games (2006 31 games out only 9 wins). I am not an expert but – creating a solid metric on 31 games would be difficult.
    Not only that, but the Sox’ 2006 troubles when Tek was out ran really deep, not just behind the plate.

    SF May 20, 2008, 3:14 pm
  • As much as I hate to admit it, I think the four no-hitters is mostly luck. Not that Tek has no role in the matter — he probably played his greatest roles in the Buchholz and Lester no-hitters because they’re so young. But Hideo Nomo was a pretty good pitcher before coming to Boston, and his no-hitter wasn’t even the greatest game he pitched that season, and Derek Lowe also was a veteran by then who induces a lot of ground balls. It’s the same reason why Chien-Ming Wang will probably one day get a no-hitter: Induce a lot of weak contact on the ground and eventually all the balls in a given game will find fielders.
    Let’s face it. The Sox’ chances of getting a no-hitter are greater than most because they are a good-fielding team with good pitchers. That they didn’t have any no-hitters between Bill Monbouquette and Hideo Nomo is simply extraordinary, considering the pitchers who took the mound in those 40 years (Lonborg, Tiant, Clemens, Pedro, never mind the ones who actually came up just short during that time: Moret, Culp, Darwin twice, Tudor, Siebert, Eckersley, Viola).
    Tek is a great catcher, and as a result, has been around long enough with one team that’s good enough to give him the chance to catch that many no-hitters. Add in his own pitch-calling abilities, particularly in these last two, and it shouldn’t really be surprising he’s got four. The surprising thing is who the four are.

    Paul SF May 20, 2008, 3:37 pm
  • SF, I’d tend to agree. But I do believe that it goes a little beyond luck and coincidence. Not much, but a little.
    Then again, you post did say “Mostly luck.”
    Yes, mostly. But not completely.

    I'mBillMcNeal May 20, 2008, 10:20 pm

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