|It was a walk to the mound to remember (unless you’re Jon Lester)||05.31.12 at 1:19 am ET|
It was an unusual sight – that of Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine coming to the mound in the seventh inning, with a runner on second base, one out and his team leading by a run. In what turned out to be a 6-4 win for the Sox over the Tigers, that wasn’t the unusual part.
What raised eyebrows was when Valentine left the field without taking out starter Jon Lester.
Lester was sitting at 116 pitches and had Detroit lefty Quintin Berry coming up with the potential game-tying run standing at second in the form of Gerald Laird.
“I don’t know. I don’t hear half the stuff that goes on out there,” said Lester when asked what Valentine told him before leaving the mound. “All I know is he came out there, didn’t take the ball and walked back to the dugout. I’m so attunded to what’s going on that I usually don’t hear what’s being said. I think a lot of pitchers are like that.”
It was unorthodox, but it worked.
Lester would strikeout Berry on four pitches before finally being replaced by reliever Matt Albers. It allowed the starter to finish his night on a positive note, an important accomplishment considering he the bumps he had to overcome on the way to completing a fairly solid outing.
There was one run in the first inning, and two more in the third. Through four innings, Lester had already thrown 74 pitches.
But, when it was all said and done, he had seemingly figured some things out.
“Jon Lester gave up those runs early, but I thought he had the best stuff of the year tonight,” said Valentine of his starter, who finished his 6 2/3-inning outing giving up four runs, striking out seven and not walking a batter.
“It’s getting frustrating to have good stuff and get whacked around a little bit. But that being said, more importantly, try to go deep in the game,” Lester said. “Guys gave me a chance to win, which is all you can ask for.”
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