ALDS Game One: Jon Lester Makes Us Weak in the Knees

1220451928There is nothing like seeing a pitcher in total command of a playoff game like Jon Lester was last night against the Angels. Lester made it seem so effortless, like he was three or four steps ahead of everyone in the opposing lineup. I’m not buying the radar gun that had him at 97 in the sixth inning, but he was aggressive, crafty, and confident.

We have been exceedingly lucky to have three aces come through town in the last decade, and each had (or has) a different style. Pedro was untouchable, treating batters like mere amusements for his genius. Curt Schilling was a bulldog, never conceding an inch of the plate. Josh Beckett is frighteningly disdainful of the opposition. He is insulted when someone even makes contact.

Lester is something else. He is becoming a master craftsman of the art of pitching, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. After the jump, three more observations from last night’s Game One win.

1. Why anyone would throw anything other than a slider away to Jason Bay is a complete mystery. After making him look foolish his first two times up with breaking balls, John Lackey threw Bay a lollipop and he drilled it. Good for Bay, who is going to be unfairly compared to Manny Ramirez for the rest of the playoffs.

2. It appears that Justin Masterson is going to be the eighth inning bridge to Jonathan Papelbon. His occasional wildness is cause for concern, but his ability to get ground balls allows him to pitch out of his mistakes. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

3. The whole day I thought to myself, Please don’t have Chip Caray call the games. Ugh. Looks like we’re stuck with Chip for the next few weeks. It’s enough to make a man long for Tim McCarver.