Tag:Jon Lester
Posted on: February 19, 2012 1:48 pm
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Polar opposites Beckett, Lester talk collapse



By Matt Snyder


After a historic collapse in September, blowing a huge wild-card lead to the Rays, the Red Sox offseason got off a turbulent start for several reasons, chief among them a revelation that starting pitchers were drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games in the clubhouse during games. So when pitchers and catchers reported to camp this weekend, obviously the subject came up.

With All-Star pitchers Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, there were two different approaches.

Lester came full of accountability and apology.

“We stunk. I stunk. Tampa Bay was better,” Lester said (BostonHerald.com). “I take complete responsibility for it.”

Beckett, on the other hand, gave what the Boston Herald termed "the bare minimum," while also going a bit on the offensive.

“I’m upset with myself for the lapses of judgment, but there’s also some ill feelings toward some people," he said (BostonHerald.com), with "people" obviously being the clubhouse leak that exposed the locker-room activities.

“I’m not saying we didn’t make mistakes, because we did make mistakes in the clubhouse. But the biggest mistake we made was — the biggest mistake I made — was not pitching well against Baltimore. I was prepared to pitch every time I went out there. I just didn’t execute pitches when I needed to.” (BostonHerald.com)

The Herald also called Beckett "defiant" in the face of the questioning while saying Lester was "contrite."

While it's easy to see that anyone would be annoyed for being outed like that, Beckett's outward frustration shows that he isn't fully accountable for the clubhouse actions. He's only sorry he got caught. It's like blaming the police officer for getting a speeding ticket -- Yeah, I shouldn't have been speeding, but I'm mad at the cop for pulling me over. But the cop wasn't the one speeding, just as the clubhouse leak wasn't the one in the wrong in September. If Beckett was truly accountable, he would be acting like Lester, the true staff ace of the Red Sox.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:57 pm
 

Red Sox 'unlikely' to add starter before spring

Ben CheringtonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt are still looking for a new home -- and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said he doesn't expect it to be in Boston.

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"We won't rule out adding a starter, but I think it's unlikely at this point," Cherington said during a taping of a NESN Hot Stove special (via the Boston Herald). "We're going to keep looking for ways to improve the team, including the pitching staff, but I wouldn't expect any major changes between now and the report date."

Now, not to say anything bad about Cherington, or to suggest he's being anything less than truthful, but these things can always change. Even Cherington noted that while he expects the Red Sox to go into spring with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz as the three definite members of the rotation, the team could add a starter during spring training or during the season. Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves will go into spring trying to transition into starters and the team has also taken flyers on Vicente Padilla, Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva.

"We know that teams evolve," Cherington said (via the Providence Journal). "That doesn't mean you don't want to go into spring training with every position perfect and the team filled out, because optimally you would. That's never the case.

"The Cardinals are the obvious recent example of a team [evolving], but you can't count on that. You can't count on that and end up in the same spot they did. All we can do, we have the guys we have now and we'll keep looking for ways to add to that group and we don't know when those opportunities are going to come. We're confident that the group we have has a chance to be really good, and we'll do everything we can to add to that if there are opportunities."

The Red Sox could get Daisuke Matsuzaka back by midseason and also make a move at the trade deadline.

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:11 am
Edited on: January 16, 2012 1:15 pm
 

Red Sox sign RHP Vicente Padilla

Vicente Padilla

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Yankees add Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, so the Red Sox have to make a move, right?

They have, but is Vicente Padilla going to move the scales on the AL East balance of power north? Doubtful, but the Red Sox have signed the 34-year-old right-hander to a minor-league contract, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports.

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Padilla was limited to just nine relief appearances for the Dodgers last season with neck problems, but there's word that he's healthy and back throwing in the mid-90s. He has already undergone a physical with the Red Sox, according to Heyman.

Padilla is 104-90 in his career with a 4.31 ERA in 237 starts and 330 appearances in parts of 13 seasons with the Phillies, Rangers, Dodgers and Diamondbacks. Although he served as a reliever early in his career, for the most part he's been a starter, going 97-81 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.362 WHIP as a starter.

As unimpressive as the signing sounds in the wake of the Yankees' moves, it's a low-risk deal for Boston. With Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox don't need help at the top of the rotation, but at the rear, and if healthy, Padilla could fit there in a competition for the fifth spot along with Alfredo Aceves, Carlos Silva, Aaron Cook and others, while Daniel Bard will be given every opportunity to win the fourth spot in the rotation during spring.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:02 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Boston Red Sox



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

One of the main reasons we came up with this exercise was because of the massive amount of fighting in the comments sections over who "buys" their teams instead of drafting and developing their own talent. In some cases, the accusations are true. In others, they aren't. While these Red Sox don't have Adrian Gonzalez or David Ortiz or Josh Beckett, you'll certainly see several key, familiar names.

Lineup

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
4. Hanley Ramirez, DH
5. David Murphy, LF
6. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
7. Jed Lowrie, SS
8. Kelly Shoppach, C
9. Josh Reddick, RF

Starting Rotation

1. Jon Lester
2. Clay Buchholz
3. Justin Masterson
4. Anibal Sanchez
5. Carl Pavano

Bullpen

Closer - Jonathan Papelbon
Set up - Daniel Bard, Rafael Betancourt, Frank Francisco, Hideki Okajima
Long - Kyle Weiland, Daisuke Matsuzaka? (Not sure I could stomach that ... )

Notable Bench Players

Ryan Lavarnway, Lars Anderson, Freddy Sanchez, Engel Beltre

What's Good?

The top of the order is sick. If Hanley Ramirez had one of his good years, that's a top four that few in baseball could match. The entire pitching staff is really, really strong, too. Lester as an ace works fine and Masterson and Sanchez are pretty darn good in those slots. There was one point last season (May) when Sanchez was almost as good as anyone. Then you move into the bullpen and the back-end is what it was in 2011, with Bard and Papelbon. Here, though, we get to add Betancourt and Francisco to the mix. That's quite a bridge to Papelbon, and remember, this with a good rotation.

What's Not?

The lineup thins out quickly. It's not awful by any stretch, because Lowrie, Shoppach and Reddick are a decent 7-9, but Murphy isn't good enough to be a fifth hitter in a great lineup and we still can't be sure how Rizzo pans out. Also, there is no depth, either on the bench or in the bullpen. The onus is entirely on the main guys to shoulder the entire workload.

Comparison to real 2011

Let's avoid all the off-field crap and just focus on the issue at hand. Is this team better than the one that was in the AL playoff race until the final out of the season? The offense isn't as good, that's for sure. Most of the other spots are at least close, but the Rizzo/Gonzalez gap at first base is gigantic. Pitching-wise, though, this group is better, top to bottom. There's no Josh Beckett, but there also isn't a full season of John Lackey with mixed in Dice-K and then the spare-part injury replacements they had to use for most of the season. The real-life Red Sox won 90 games and this group feels like a similar one in terms of wins. It's not elite, but it's pretty good.

Next: Detroit Tigers

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:39 pm
 

Red Sox pitchers, Francona speak on beer-drinking

By Evan Brunell

The Red Sox have issued a statement, attempting to put the beer-drinking controversy to bed. The team is specifically refuting a claim that there was drinking in the dugout that was released Tuesday morning. Terry Francona is part of the statement, asking the team to release one for him, along with pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jon Lester, and president Larry Lucchino. The statement reads:
LesterJON LESTER (pictured, right): “The accusation that we were drinking in the dugout during games is completely false.  Anonymous sources are continuing to provide exaggerated and, in this case, inaccurate information to the media.  
 
BeckettJOSH BECKETT (pictured, left): “I cannot let this allegation go without response; enough is enough.  I admit that I made mistakes along the way this season, but this has gone too far.  To say that we drank in the dugout during the game is not true.”
 
JOHN LACKEY: “There are things that went on this season that shouldn’t have happened, but this latest rumor is not true, and I felt that it was important to try to stop this from going any further.”
 
TERRY FRANCONA: “In 32 years of professional baseball, I have never seen someone drinking beer in the dugout.”
 
PRESIDENT/CEO LARRY LUCCHINO ON BEHALF OF THE BOSTON RED SOX: “Tonight our organization has heard directly from Jon, Josh, John, and former manager Terry Francona.  Each has assured us that the allegation that surfaced today about drinking in the dugout during games in 2011 is false, and we accept their statements as honest and factual.
 
“As we continue our internal examination to fully understand what went wrong in September, 2011, we appreciate these strong and clear statements from our players.
 
“It is time to look forward and move forward, rather than allow a reckless, unsubstantiated accusation from ‘anonymous sources’ to mislead the public.”
This should effectively confirm that all these Red Sox pitchers did, in fact, drink beer during games in which they did not pitch. Lester had previously admitted to drinking beer during games.

Can't get enough booze? Read more about the beer-drinking controversy.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 6:02 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 8:54 pm
 

Report: Red Sox pitchers drank beer in dugout



By Evan Brunell


A report from WHDH-7 TV's Joe Amorosino in Boston has Red Sox pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester drinking beer during games. That's nothing that hasn't been reported yet, except this report has the beer-drinking occurring in the dugout.

During games in which the three were not pitching, the trio would go to the clubhouse as early as the sixth inning and fill cups with Bud Light beer and drink it on the dugout as games ended.

“Beckett would come down the stairs from the dugout, walking through the corridor to the clubhouse and say ‘it’s about that time’," an employee of the team said. "Beckett was the instigator but Lester and Lackey were right behind him. It was blatant and hard not to notice what was going on with all three guys leaving at once.”

Whether the team was winning or losing was irrelevant to the beer-drinking, and increased as 2011 wore on. Another employee said it was a cause of boredom on the nights all three weren't pitching and "is how they entertained themselves.”

It's difficult to tell whether or not this report is true. If so, it would point to reports that the three were essentially a clique and couldn't be bothered to care about other players on the team on days one of the three wasn't pitching. This much is true: whatever happened, it wasn't acceptable. What if one of them had to be pressed into duty in extra-innings, for example? What about supporting your team and being invested in the game?

Update: Jon Lester, who admitted to drinking beer in the clubhouse, called the reports of drinking in the dugout "completely false," according to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes.

Read more about the Red Sox's saga with drinking beer during games.

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Posted on: October 17, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: October 18, 2011 7:07 am
 

Jon Lester speaks on Red Sox accusations

Lester

By Evan Brunell


One of the Red Sox players accused of drinking beer in the clubhouse has come out and admitted such.

"It was the wrong thing to do," Jon Lester told the Boston Globe, saying he was one of the players to drink beer in the clubhouse this season -- but never on a day he pitched, and far less often than has been suggested.

"It was a ninth-inning rally beer," he said, shades of A.J. Pierzynski's own explanation for drinking while on the job with the White Sox. "We probably ordered chicken from Popeye's like once a month. That happened. But that's not the reason we lost."

"Most of the times, it was one beer, a beer," Lester added. "It was like having a Coke in terms of how it affected you. I know how it looks to people and it probably looks bad. But we weren't up there just drinking and eating and nobody played video games. We watched the game."

More on Boston Red Sox
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Lester says the reason the Red Sox lost was because "we just played bad baseball as a team in September. We stunk. To be honest, we were doing the same things all season when we had the best record in baseball."

However, by the same token, the lefty also admits that the occurrence was a bad habit and he should have been on the bench more. How can he say, then, that drinking beer and secluding himself in the clubhouse had no impact on the club's fortunes? It's a pretty vague statement to make, but isn't it possible the loss of solidarity and gelling of the team -- which outgoing manager Terry Francona cited as a problem -- contributed to September's downfall?

"Are there things I regret? Sure there are," he added. "But nothing happened that had me unprepared to pitch. I don't blame people for wanting answers because we had a hell of a team and we lost. You can't have a team that gets paid like we get paid and loses and not expect people to want answers."

Speaking of Francona, Lester admitted that it was time for a change.

"I love Tito and he did a great job for us when he was here. On a personal level I was more than grateful for what he did for me and my family," he said. "But there comes a time when your authority is no longer there. You kind of run your course. People who knew how Tito was and we pushed the envelope with it. We never had rules, we never had that iron-fist mentality. If you screwed up, he called you on it. That was how it worked.

"I never say guys [were] purposely breaking rules or doing the wrong thing in front of him and rubbing it in his face. But this particular team probably needed more structure."

Lester didn't feel comfortable speaking for the others accused in the fiasco, such as Josh Beckett and Jon Lackey and others, but felt he had to speak out in light of all the stories.

"We're not bad people and we're not a bad group of guys," he said.

Lester spoke at length with the Globe, also touching on the issue of player conditioning and the accusation that players allowed themselves to get out of shape.

"It's probably because of how we eat," he said of why pitchers gain weight as the season progresses. "We have some crazy hours with the travel and you get in at 4 a.m. and you get room service or something quick. But unless your body fat is going up 10 percent or something like that, you don't have a problem.

"I've heard what people are saying in Boston. I can tell you that guys were in the weight room. Guys were doing their shoulder [exercises] and guys were prepared to pitch. If we win a few more games in September and make the playoffs, none of this comes out. But we didn't and that's on us as a team and on me personally. I take a lot of the blame for this, a lot."

As part of the solution, Lester thinks high-character players are needed, citing Alex Cora, Eric Hinske and Sean Casey as previous influencers.

"We need that good veteran presence," he said. "If you have somebody like that, it makes everybody better. Everybody is accountable and we have plenty of people to look up to. That's not the problem. But we have a lot of guys who are kind of middle-aged in terms of their careers. Sometimes you need veteran guys who know their roles and can reach out to everybody."

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Posted on: October 13, 2011 10:42 am
 

Report: Lester not a part of Beergate

By Matt Snyder

Red Sox dysfunction
One thing we need to keep in mind about Wednesday's revelation from the Boston Globe about all the problems on the 2011 Red Sox is that the entire thing was based upon anonymous sources. Now, those can be very accurate and likely much of the report was dead-on accurate. Several good reporters worked on the story. It's just that when people go anonymous, it's possible there's a bit of exaggeration and even back-stabbing. And since we don't know exactly who the sources are, we don't know exactly how much of the Red Sox players in question were actually seen first-hand doing the activities that were reported.

In that light, it's absolutely worth passing along conflicting reports, for the sake of fairness. And we have one right now.

The latest is that Red Sox ace Jon Lester may have been unfairly lumped in with John Lackey and Josh Beckett.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that he's heard from "a trusted team source" that Lester should not be included with Lackey and Beckett (and occasionally Clay Buchholz, according to the original report) on the alleged beer, chicken and video game activity during games.

It's certainly enough for me to give Lester the benefit of the doubt, for now.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com