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John Farrell explains why starting Jon Lester on three days’ rest wasn’t a consideration

10.26.13 at 5:26 pm ET
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ST. LOUIS — At a time when the health of Clay Buchholz is in some question as he prepares for a Game 4 start in the World Series, and when Jake Peavy is lined up for starts in Games 3 and 7, one thought that had not been broached publicly was that of having Jon Lester work on three days’ rest, with starts in Game 4 and, potentially, in Game 7. Back in 2009, the Sox were prepared to have Lester work on three days’ rest in the American League Division Series against the Angels, but a three-game sweep prevented that outcome from materializing. Lester had a solid start on the final day of the 2011 regular season on short rest, permitting two runs over six innings against the Orioles.

The Sox did have some internal dialogue on the matter, but concluded that Lester on short rest was not in the team’s best interest based on what they’ve seen from the pitcher based on his usage patters. When pitching on four days of rest during the regular season, Lester was 8-6 with a 4.24 ERA in 18 starts. On five days of rest, he was 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA. (He went 2-0 with a 4.41 ERA in three starts on six or more days of rest.)

“There was some conversation, but I think that history shows that that’s not, that has not been successful,” manager John Farrell said of starting pitchers in the postseason on three days’ rest. “From a broader perspective on Lester, the last seven, eight weeks of the season, he pitched on [five] days’ rest the entire time. He went on [four] days’ rest against Detroit [in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series]. [He had] a little bit different stuff. It was noticeable. I recognize we’re in the World Series, I recognize the time of year, but I would rather have Jon Lester at full strength or with normal rest than at three days of rest.”

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