Lester digs too deep a hole in 15-7 Red Sox loss
Pitching put the Red Sox in a pinch yet again as Boston sunk a little deeper Sunday afternoon when they lost, 15-7, to the Toronto Blue Jays. The loss completed the Blue Jays’ three-game sweep of the Red Sox and meant the Sox now occupy last place in the AL East.
Jon Lester had his worst start of his career in the outing, giving up four home runs and 11 earned runs over four-plus innings, the first time a Red Sox starting pitcher has allowed 11 earned runs since 1983.
The lefthander had trouble from the very start, giving up a solo homer to Brett Lawrie on the first pitch of the afternoon, and it only got worse from there. Before the Red Sox bats had even swung, Lester put the team in a deep 5-0 hole.
“I’ve let my team down a lot this year,” Lester told the media. “It’s hard for me to walk around this clubhouse and look guys in the eye.”
Adrian Gonzalez kept the Sox in it with a three-run homer to cut the deficit, but Lester couldn’t mirror his team’s offense and the Red Sox were again in the hole, this time 11-4 when Lester’s outing quickly ended in the fifth.
Jacoby Ellsbury tried to keep the Red Sox alive with his first home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth, and the Boston bats stayed alive as Mike Aviles and Nick Punto brought in runs to keep their team in the game with the score at 11-7. The deficit proved too much for the Red Sox, and Lester walked away with the worst start of his career and the team back at .500.
– Lester hasn’t been able to live up to his previous performances so far this season, and he certainly didn’t turn that around Sunday. With 20 starts in the books, his ERA sits at 5.46, and as is evident in this game, even if the Red Sox bats are hot, the pitching needs to be on. Nine hits, 11 earned runs, four home runs, and two strikeouts certainly wasn’t the outing needed to turn around Lester’s slump.
– Homers from Ellsbury and Gonzalez boosted the Red Sox offense and kept them in the game. With Ellsbury coming back strong after returning from the disabled list and Gonzalez removing any reminders of a slump, their contributions solidified the Sox offense despite the loss. Notably, Gonzalez has lifted his average to .298.
– Junichi Tazawa had a great relief outing as he struck out five batters over three scoreless innings, keeping the Blue Jays offense quiet and giving the Sox a chance to get back in it. Unfortunately for the Sox, Mark Melancon wasn’t able to follow suit and allowed four more Toronto runs in the eighth inning.
The Red Sox are heading on a six-game road trip against the top two teams in the American League; the Rangers and Yankees. The Red Sox won’t have it easy in the remainder of the season, as they’ll play on the road ten more times than they will at Fenway. Next on the mound for Boston is Felix Doubront (10-4) who’ll face Scott Feldman in place of Roy Oswalt when the Red Sox take on the Rangers at 8:05 p.m. on Monday. Oswalt was scratched due to back tightness. The Rangers are currently in first place in the AL West.