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Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Jon Lester: ‘This is definitely the best I’ve seen him’

04.07.13 at 5:15 pm ET
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TORONTO ‘€“ Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been with the Red Sox for 77 of Jon Lester‘€™s starts. During that time, the lefty has had some pretty noteworthy runs.’€™

But according to the catcher, this is the best Lester he has witnessed since arriving with two months to go in the 2010 season.

‘€œSince I’€™ve been here, yeah,’€ said Saltalamacchia when asked after the Red Sox’€™ 13-0 rout of the Blue Jays Sunday afternoon if this was as good as he’€™s seen the lefty throw. ‘€œWhen I first got here in 2010 he was doing pretty well. But since I’€™ve been with him full-time, this is definitely the best I’€™ve seen him.’€

The results Sunday only supported the backstop’€™s observation.

While the Red Sox’€™ offense was bludgeoning Jays starter R.A. Dickey with eight runs over the former National League Cy Young Award winner’€™s 4 1/3 innings, Lester was in absolute cruise control.

The Sox starter held Toronto scoreless through his seven-inning stint, allowing five hits while striking out six and not walking a batter. It marked the fourth time in Lester’€™s career that he went at least seven innings while not allowing  run or a walk.

It was an outing that followed up his Opening Day win, in which he gave up two runs over five innings just days after completing a spring training which concluded with the pitcher totaling a 0.75 ERA over six official starts.

‘€œIt feels good obviously,’€ said Lester of his start. ‘€œAnytime you get off to a good start like this, it just adds to your confidence. Baseball’€™s such a funny game as far as confidence. You can be at the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the matter of a day. You’€™ve just got to ride out the good times and try not to let the bad times really bottom out. We just ride it out as best we can, keep working and see where we’€™re at tomorrow.’€

Ironically, it was against the Blue Jays last season that Lester might have hit his low point, allowing 11 runs over four innings in a July 22 start.

And while he rebounded against the Jays later that season with a solid seven-inning, three-run outing at Rogers Centre, the image portrayed this time around was dramatically different.

‘€œHe’s definitely a different guy from what I saw from last year,’€ Saltalamacchia said. ‘€œLast year he was fighting himself a little bit. He wasn’t getting that downward angle he’s getting right now. He’s just a completely different pitcher and it’s impressive to see. The cutter has tight spin and has some quick cut to it. The curveball has become better because of it. And the changeup is one of his best secondary pitches and he doesn’t have to throw it too often.’€

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