Red Sox-Mariners: Jon Lester in Hometown Seattle

Matt DolloffCorrespondent IMay 15, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 04:  Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox deals a pitch against the New York Yankees on May 4, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The Boston Red Sox sit comfortably at 21-14, despite a lack of consistency from their top two starters.
Jon Lester is one of them, as his first full season under the scope of high expectations has been rough, to say the least. But the Boston Red Sox No. 2 starter will take the mound Friday as he continues to try to get back on track against the Seattle Mariners.

Born and raised in Puyallap, Wash., Lester usually treats starts at Seattle like a home-coming party. But this time, he’s only concerned with fixing what has been a disappointing season thus far. Lester is 2-3 with a 6.31 ERA, despite three quality starts.

Strikeouts haven’t been a problem so far, with 33 in 30 innings and 10 against the Yankees two starts ago. Lester’s biggest problems so far have been high pitch counts and a propensity to allow big innings.

In two starts against the Rays, Lester allowed two huge individual innings—a five-run fifth in his first start of the season, then a six-run fifth in his most recent start. The Athletics also had one big inning against Lester, scoring five runs in the second inning of his second start at Oakland.

Lester is frustrated because he feels he’s throwing well but it’s just not going his way. Right now he’s determined to simply maintain focus and keep executing.

“I threw a lot of good pitches that game that got hit through the hole and there’s not a lot I can do about it,” Lester told Ian Browne of

“Like I said after the game, it’s frustrating and I’m getting tired of saying I’m tipping my hat to good hitting. That’s the way baseball is.

"It doesn’t seem to be going my way right now and I just have to put that aside and try to execute as many pitches as I can and hopefully it will eventually turn around.”

In his only start against the Mariners at SafeCo Field in 2008, Lester went seven-and-a-third shutout innings, striking out six on 103 pitches and earning the win.

He is 1-0 with a 4.67 in his career against Seattle.

Seattle starter Chris Jakubauskas has not had any better of a season than Lester in 2009. He is 1-4 with a 7.67 ERA and is coming off his worst start of the season against Minnesota where he allowed nine runs in four-and-a-third innings.

Still, Jakubauskas was only slightly worse than Lester in his last start. Both pitchers will likely rebound from their last outing, but the first one to struggle will likely come out of this game empty-handed.