Dear Mr. Lester,
I need to seriously apologize to you for the non-stop barrage of insults and doubts that I have thrown your way over the past season. I admit, I had no faith in you before last night's game. I thought the scouting reports of your abilities were grossly exaggerated and you were going to be nothing more than a .500 pitcher. Watching you pitch was painful. You threw too many pitches, you danced around the strike zone, and you walked way too many hitters. Every game, I would make sly comments like "Oh the game's an hour into it, how many batters has Lester walked?" or "Hurry up, if we miss the first fifteen minutes of the game we will miss Lester walk the bases loaded!". I figured you had reached your peak, and had little faith that you were going to be as dominant as Theo might have thought you were going to be. I was wrong.
Please Mr. Lester, accept my apology, though I know I don't deserve it. Last night was one of the best games I can remember in my Red Sox history. You were masterful, and you showed why Theo was hesitant to move you for Santana. I had no idea your fastball could hit 96 MPH, and your cutter was unbelievable. I am down on my knees begging you to forgive me. I am a shitty Red Sox fan. I promise I will no longer mock little kids with your jersey on and say things like "Wow that kid must really love a pitcher who has no command of the strike zone" and I certainly won't yell "BALL FOUR" at them. Jon, I am ready to expect great things from you. My doubts have vanished. I love you.
Hazel Mae's Landing Strip
Sigh. I, too, must apologize, Jon.
I’ve doubted you all year. WITH GOOD REASON I THINK. In 11 starts last year, you went 4-0 -- those 4 wins due primarily, I thought, to the fact that you had a comfortable BABIP of .288 working behind you -- with a 4.57 ERA and 31 (!) batters walked in 63 innings. I never begrudged you the World Series win, of course, but you struck me as a young pitcher who was flourishing by virtue of being on a truly phenomenal team rather than as the kind of player who could actually lead a team to victory of your own accord.
I’ve complained bitterly about you this year. During the offseason, I fumed over the Sox brass’ reluctance to include you in Santana trade talks when we still had Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, and Michael Bowden waiting in the wings. With 2 wild pitches already on the season (one of which I was at Fenway for, and it was not pretty) and a steadily declining K/BB ratio (down to 1.14 from 1.61) coming into last night, I’ll readily admit: I was convinced that control issues were going to total your career and send you packing by the start of next season. Sure, I was impressed by your unexpected duel with Roy Halladay a few weeks back, but I wrote it off as a fluke. Even my preview from last night was laced with jabs about the inadequacy I perceived in your pitching. I left my apartment in the 7th to get to the grocery store before it closed last night, Jon.
I’m so fucking sorry.
You shut me up, buddy. I deserved it. You were absolutely other-worldly last night. Maybe it’s a function of getting to throw to a steady-handed leader like Varitek; maybe it’s simply you maturing and settling down. Whatever it was, Jon, you were spectacular and I’m sorry I ever doubted you. More than anything, I’m so, so glad you proved me wrong.
Disclaimer: I will not in any way revise my standing opinion of Julio Lugo until he hits for the cycle and single-handedly turns a triple play within the same game. Even then, I probably won’t.