This version of Jon Lester was the one everyone was waiting to see. From the ownership group, to the baseball operations department, to the coaching staff, to his teammates, to the fans of Red Sox Nation. This was delivering the goods. This was living up to the promise, and the expectations.
Lester out-dueled one of baseball's bona fide aces, Roy Halladay, throwing eight innings of one-hit, six strikeout ball. Though he allowed four walks, he didn't let them hurt him and got out of jams each time.
For his part, Toronto's resident stud threw yet another complete game, allowing just five hits and one run, while striking out six. Halladay has lost too many heartbreakers of this nature as his offense has stumbled.
Lester was the reason for that on Tuesday night.
But Lester's inconsistency has frustrated everyone, including himself. All too often he has been the victim of his own high pitch counts, numerous walks, and early exits. The poor performances even lead him to doubt himself. Good thing his confidence wasn't too shaken. And after such a compelling performance, he should be inspired.
The key was throwing first-pitch strikes and getting ahead in the count early. His changeup was elusive and made his fastball all the more effective. His consistency in the strike zone allowed him an economical 97 pitches.
This was surely one of Lester's finest moments in the Majors.
"Everything's coming along good," he said after the game. "Seems like every time I go out there, I take strides in the right direction."
Lets hope this is the beginning of the right kind of consistency.
Copyright © 2008 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.