Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lester and Co. shutout ChiSox, earn sixth straight win

(Associated Press)

In Jon Lester's last eight starts dating back to 2011, he was 0-5 with a 7.01 ERA. Tonight, he went 7 innings of five-hit ball without letting a run cross the plate as the Red Sox beat the White Sox 1-0.  His command was better than it has been in those last eight starts as he struck out seven, walked just one, and threw 78 out of 122 pitches for strikes.

The Sox are now 6-0 on this road trip and 9-5 since losing 5 of 6 to start the season. An even more impressive stat is the bullpens ERA during the road trip. Coming into tonight, the bullpen had a 0.66 ERA, and after two scoreless innings tonight, that number will decrease even more. Franklin Morales and Vicente Padilla combined for a scoreless eighth inning before Aceves took care of the ninth.

As for the Sox offense struggles tonight, they ran into a hot pitcher in Jake Peavy and strung together just four hits and one run on an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez in the fourth inning.

This offense has scored 44 runs in the past five games, so you had to wonder when their bats would be cooled down a bit. Jake Peavy sure did that tonight, but Jon Lester was on his game and performed like the ace the Red Sox need him to be.

Something worth noting, Alfredo Aceves has been criticized this season for overthrowing which has hurt his command. He hit 98 MPH tonight and was sitting at 95-97. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning. It seems as though he is getting more comfortable as a closer with each save opportunity and is starting to embrace the challenge, rather than being fearful of failure as we saw earlier in the year.

The Sox will turn to Josh Beckett tomorrow afternoon and go for the four-game sweep, win their seventh straight, and get above the .500 mark for the first time this season. First pitch is set for 2:10pm.

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