Last month, I predicted that Boston Red Sox lefty Jon Lester would win the 2013 AL Cy Young Award after a terrible season under Bobby Valentine last year. Lester went 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA in 2012.
On Friday night, Lester improved his record to 5-0 with a complete game, one-hit shutout against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Sox won the game 5-0. Lester retired the first 17 hitters he faced before surrendering a double to Macier Itzuris down the left field line which just eluded the glove of third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Izturis was the only Blue Jay to reach base. As my Dad says, “Izturis is trouble.”
I think Lester just pitched the best game of his career. Even better than the no-hitter he threw against the Kansas City Royals in May 2008. OK, Lester struck out nine in the no-hitter as compared to five tonight. But he walked two batters in the no-no. Lester did not surrender a walk tonight. His control was impeccable. Lester was in total command and delivered a command performance. He was nearly perfect.
Incidentally, Lester wasn’t the only pitcher who was nearly perfect tonight. St. Louis Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller retired 27 consecutive Colorado Rockies after giving up a leadoff single to Eric Young, Jr. Miller struck out 13 in the Cards 3-0 victory.
A good night for pitching. An almost perfect night.