(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
It took three starts, but the real Jon Lester showed himself today against Baltimore. His first two starts were bad, but primarily unlucky. His first start consisted of one bad inning (fifth) where he allowed a bloop hit and a hit and run play prevented a double play. His second start wasn't very good. He just left everything up and got hammered.
Today was different. First off, he commanded every pitch and kept the Orioles off balance all day with strikeouts and pop outs. He struck out nine batters and gave up only four hits.
One of the big Sabermetrics boo-boo's for Lester was his K/9 rate, which last year was around 6.5. I told everyone this season that Lester is just getting better and his K/9 rate will get better as well. Granted his ERA is 5.50, his K/9 rate after three starts and 18 innings is 8.5.
I know it won't stay that high, but I think he can maintain a 7.2 K/9 rate the whole year. One reason I know this is in the offseason he worked on his change-up. He already has a 96 mph fastball and a great cutter and curveball. Now mix in the change-up as another out pitch and he is dominating. He showed that today and expect more starts like this now that Lester has hopefully got settled.
Todd "The True Guru" Farino.
Go out and get him if you can, unless you use Sabermetrics. In that case, get Oliver Perez.