It seems as though the real Jon Lester has finally stood up.
Coming off of his second very solid start in a row, Lester threw seven solid innings against the Yankees, in which he only allowed one run. This is also his fifth start in a row in which Lester has thrown at least six innings.
This season, Lester holds a 7-10 record with a 5.03 ERA and a WHIP of 1.35. Needless to say, this has been the worst season of his career. Having career lows in almost every category, it has only been recently that Lester has showed some signs of being a decent pitcher.
Ever since Lester got pounded by the Blue Jays on July 22nd, it is safe to say that he has finally begun to fix his mechanics. While he is still not the ace pitcher he was in previous seasons, it is a positive sign to see Lester going deeper into games, allowing fewer runs and dealing with high-pressure situations far better.
Unfortunately, it may just well be too late into the season for Lester to make a difference in the Red Sox' 2012 season.
Sitting 6.5 games back from a wild-card spot, the likelihood of the Red Sox making the playoffs seems very unlikely. Unless Boston can make a near-historic run, it seems like the final month and half of the season will be dedicated to seeing who can contribute to the 2013 squad.
While Lester's re-emergence on the mound may not mean much to the Red Sox this season, consistency in the rest of the season will be a very positive sign for the future. If Lester can prove to be the pitcher he once was, then the Red Sox are in far better shape in 2013 then previously ascertained.
Can Lester turn his career around in 2013?
Much like Adrian Gonzalez, late production by Lester can provide a glimmer of hope that the pitching situation in Boston is not nearly as ugly as we all once thought. If Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and Lester can all pitch the way they have recently this season, then the future of the rotation does not seem so bleak.
Entering in his prime years, Lester has all of the potential to be a potential ace for this pitching staff for the next several years. Once Lester can prove he is a consistent pitcher on the field, as well as a positive influence in the clubhouse, then Red Sox ownership can rest a tad easier.
Now more than ever, Jon Lester has the opportunity to prove naysayers wrong about his declining ability and his poisonous influence in the clubhouse. The pure ability is there, but the attitude is in the hands of Lester himself.
The remainder of this season can mend a lot of wounds, if Lester turns his career around. At least he's shown that he still can be a productive pitcher.
(Statistics accredited to Baseball-Reference)