Lester becoming a strikeout machine
Jon Lester pitched his way into the Red Sox record book on Tuesday night, notching nine strikeouts to give him a total of 196 on the season. That is now the record for a Boston left-hander, surpassing the record of 190 set by Bruce Hurst in 1987.
Lester was in line for his seventh double-digit strikeout game of the season, but came out after 97 pitches because of some discomfort in his groin. It is nothing that will impact his next start.
“It’s alright,” said Lester. “Just a little precautionary thing. I don’t want to push it, especially this time of the year. I would have liked to have gone a little deeper.”
As for passing Hurst and working his way into the club annals, Lester was typically humble.
“It’s something that’s cool, something that’s nice,” said Lester. “But like I’ve said all along about strikeouts, I’d give strikeouts back for wins. That’s what we’re trying to do is win ballgames. If you strike out 100 guys a game, it doesn’t matter, as long as you win.”
Is manager Terry Francona surprised that Lester is on the verge of a 200-strikeout season?
“I don’t think we’re surprised. I know you guys don’t get invited into those pre-Spring Training meetings four or five years ago but I think there were a lot of people in the organization who thought that’s what he would be,” said Francona. “[A] workhorse who wouldlog innings. I think we’re seeing what we hoped we’d see.”
Lester is 11-7 on the season with a 3.58 ERA. He led the Red Sox to an 8-4 win over the Rays on Tuesday.
– Ian Browne