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September 13, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Post-game notes: It was all Jon Lester

(Ichiro tries to no avail to make a leaping grap of Ryan Kalish’s two-run homer off Doug Fister at Safeco Field on Monday night. The Red Sox won, 5-1. Photo by Associated Press).
The prince of Puyallup was brilliant, giving up just three hits (two of them to Chone Figgins, one to the infield) while striking out 12 in Boston’s 5-1 win. That’s one shy of Lester’s season-high of 13, which also happened to be against the Mariners. You might remember the July 24 game in which Lester took a perfect game into the sixth before giving up a two-run homer to Michael Saunders and suffering the loss.
This time, however, Lester sustained his excellence. He probably could have had a shutout, but with one out and Franklin Gutierrez on third in the seventh, he opted to get the sure out at first on Casey Kotchman’s comebacker, even though from my vantage point he had Gutierrez dead to rights. Lester still had gas in his tank at the end, striking out the side in the eighth.

Lester is not quite in the Cy Young conversation, but he’s on the fringe. He’s now 17-8, tied with David Price for second in wins behind C.C. Sabathia’s 19 (but we now recognize wins for a pitcher don’t mean much, right Felix Hernandez Cy Young support committee?). Lester now ranks third in strikeouts with 208, behind only Felix (214) and Jered Weaver (211). His 3.19 ERA is eighth in the AL. His 5.0 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) heading into last night’s game ranked tied for fourth (with Justin Verlander) among AL pitchers, trailing only — surprise, surprise — Francisco Liriano (6.1), Felix Hernandez (5.9) and Weaver (5.1). He’s now in the top 10 in innings pitched with 190. Opponents batting average against Lester going into this game was .224, tied for fifth lowest (Hernandez was tied for third at .220). If someone wants to calculate the new number, be my guest, but it will be close to .220, I’d suspect (Lester’s new stats after last night hadn’t kicked into yet, last time I checked).
The Mariners, meanwhile, are staggering in their offensive ineptitude. Yes, this is one of those “tip your cap” games against an upper-tier pitcher. But they barely avoided their 14th shutout, which would have been the third time they’ve had back-to-back shutouts this year. Their losing streak is now five games — their sixth losing streak of five or more this year.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the Mariners tonight dropped a game behind the Orioles in the standings. Baltimore, with their victory over Toronto, is now 56-88 (.389). The Mariners, with their loss, are 55-89 (.382). That means the Mariners have the 29th-best record in the major leagues, leaving them all alone for the No. 2 draft pick next June. The Pirates are the worst at 48-95 (.336), and I don’t see anything to lead me to think they’re going to abandon their position. But that goes for the Mariners, too.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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