The season will open with Lester

The news is hardly surprising, but it is fitting. Jon Lester, Boston’s best starting pitcher and one of the best in baseball, will pitch Opening Day on April 1 against the Rangers in Arlington.

Josh Beckett pitched Opening Day for the Red Sox the last two years, but Lester has been Boston’s most productive starting pitcher since 2008.

Still just 27 years old, you wonder how many Opening Day starts are in Lester’s career. Quite a few, I’m sure.

Last season, Lester became an All-Star for the first time. He finished 2009 with a 19-9 record and a 3.25 ERA. Lester has notched 225 strikeouts in each of the last two seasons.

He has been a machine over the last three years, averaging 17 wins, 207 1/3 innings and a 3.30 ERA.

Since entering the Major Leagues in 2006, Lester is 61-25 in 124 games, all but one of those outings starts.

Lester’s rookie season came to an abrupt halt when he was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma. After undergoing six chemotherapy treatments, Lester was declared cancer free in Dec., 2006.

He fired a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals on May 19, 2008.

And now he can add an Opening Day start to the list of his already impressive accomplishments.

7 Comments

Great news. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody!

Just when Lester was rightfully anointed as the OD pitcher, he had a sub-par ST game. With the Sox offense and if remain healthy, Lester could easily be a 20 game winner. But again sometimes the least expected happens in baseball. Go Sox.

Hey everyone, been a LONG time. Miss you all.
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Great to see the Sox off to a great start but my mind is on Japan in what may be the worst nuclear plant disaster in history. We should all pray and keep our thoughts on Japan. This is truly devastating. The radioactive cloud will be hitting the US in the next few days but I’m not really worried. Its too dispersed to be of great concern and, in addition, we all get radiation attacks from the planet on a regular basis. Japan is another story. Those plants are slewing out a lot of nasty gamma radiation which is the most lethal. I’m curious of the wavelength and concentrations but I haven’t read any reports listing those numbers.

Dave: Long time no hear from you. Hope your family are doing well.
I am not a bit surprised that the Sox dropped Beck to no. 4 spot. Young and Francona must see something they dislike about Beck. Hope not. But Lackey, a no. 2 starter?? Lackey has a great ST. but still. I hope the rotation works out fine. Go Sox.

Andrew,
Delight to hear from you. How are you doing?
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I am going to take Terry Francona at his word in giving Beckett some self esteem against Cleveland vs. tackling the hard hitting Rangers to build up his confidence. Josh comes across as someone who really does depend a lot on mental confidence to perform. In addition Lackey has indeed been dynamite. Maybe the weight loss did it :)

Buchholz is a better than Lackey. But Lackey has more experience. Remember the game that Buchholz worried so much about the runner at 1B and eventually picked himself off in a tight game. Unbelievable that a no name pitcher got the final out on one pitch to bail out Pap. With one run lead going into the 9th, I have no confidence that Pap will close out the game.
Is Beckett the highest paying 4th starter at $17MM per annum?

I think it’s great that Jon Lester has been handed Opening Day. Lester is one of my all time favorite pitchers, his incredibly story has touched me and I am so glad that he has made it to where he is. Everything that he has been through has made him who he is today.

Just a year after his battle with cancer, he won his first post season start in game 4 of the 2007 World Series, which happened to be the series clinching game. As if that wasn’t enough he has a no-hitter, an all star game and a consistent record under his belt. I anxiously await this season to see if he can make it to the 20 wins club.

I love the choice to have Lester pitch the first game against the Rangers. Texas has some big bats in their lineup but Lester is easily the best pitcher the Red Sox have in my opinion. In Lester’s 16 innings pitched during Spring Training his ERA came out to be 3.38, while Josh Beckett’s ERA was 6.64 over 21 innings pitched. Lester had the lowest ERA amongst the starting pitchers during Spring Training. I’m confident in Francona’s decision to hand the ball to Lester on April 1, I think he is consistent and durable enough to face the Texas lineup. Next up for Lester – the American League Cy Young award.

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