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Jon Lester: ‘[Expletive] first half’ represents ‘uncharted waters for me’ 07.09.12 at 1:53 am ET
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To put it bluntly, 2012 has been a season to forget so far for Jon Lester. The 28-year-old does not pretend otherwise.

“It’s a [expletive] first half for me,” he rued after entering the All-Star break with one of his worst outings of the season.

The Red Sox left-hander’€™s woes have been just one ingredient in the recipe of the team’€™s beleaguered pitching staff, but they might be the most significant. The two-time All-Star and former Cy Young candidate is on track to have the worst statistical season of his career during a time in which his team can’€™t afford such struggles.

It’€™s no secret that the Red Sox have been marred by inconsistency this season — mostly due to the array of players that has and still is occupying the disabled list — and the pitching rotation has taken a large brunt of the damage.

With Josh Beckett battling injuries and controversy this season, Clay Buchholz suffering a recent gastrointestinal malady that landed him on the DL and a combination of demotions, minor league promotions and bullpen shuffling, the Sox have had little room for error, especially from a pitcher of Lester’€™s experience and ability. Lester, along with fellow starter Felix Doubront, has been the only consistently healthy arm this season.

But while Doubront has put together a surprisingly impressive season, it’€™s been Lester who has put together a campaign that has been equally surprising for its inconsistency. Sunday night’€™s 7-3 loss to the Yankees represented another page in this half-season chapter of struggles: nine hits surrendered, five runs (four earned) allowed, two walks, one hit batter and 101 pitches in only 4 1/3 innings.

‘€œJon had another uphill battle,’€ Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. ‘€œI thought he was throwing the ball well, but before you know it, you look up and there’€™s a lot of hits on the board and runs and base runners and pitches. One hundred pitches and we’€™re not through the fifth inning yet, it’€™s not what he wanted I’€™m sure.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

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