Lester’s No-Hitter

Jon Lester 

About 22 months ago, Jon Lester, talented young starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. 10 months later, Lester was the winning pitcher for Boston’s clinching game 4 victory in last year’s World Series against the Rockies. Now, 18 months after defeating cancer and completing his cancer treatment (chemo and all), lefty Jon Lester became the Red Sox 18th pitcher to hurl a no hitter. Throwing “it” in the face of cancer once more, although he won’t admit it. He humbly plays down his cancer scare as if it was just another thing to overcome in his quest to be a major league pitcher. Ho-hum! The last time a Red Sox lefty threw a No-No was back in 1956 by Mel Parnell. For those of you who hate math, that’s 52 years ago (and why do you hate math if you’re a baseball fan?)!

The details of last night’s game are as follows.

·         Lester faced 29 KC Royals batters, walking 2 and striking out 9.

·         The first walk came in the 2nd inning which then led to the sole error of the game for the Sox when Lester himself, in a pickoff attempt, threw the ball away, but this had nothing to do with a batter of course.

·         In the 4th, this past week’s AL player of the week, Jose Guillen hit a liner to shallow CF which turned into the defensive highlight that eventually saved the no-no as Jacoby Ellsbury, “the human sparkplug”, made a diving catch to record the out!

·         Lester entered the 9th after already throwing 113 pitches through 8 innings, already close to his career maximum pitch count. A count he will later break in the 9th.

·         Then, leading off the 9th, Lester walked his second batter, which had to scare a few people, including Francona and John Farrell.

·         Lester ended the game in a thing of beauty for baseball purists, with a strikeout of Alberto Callaspo on his 130th pitch of the game! Wow!

Not only was this a special night for Jon Lester, but also for the ownership and management of the Red Sox. Lester became the second home-grown youngster to throw a No hitter for the Sox in the past 8 ½ months as righty Clay Buchholz, back on September 1st, threw a no-no in his 2nd major league start, on that date the victim was the Baltimore Orioles. Both young men were drafted under the current ownership’s control. Boston fans, just don’t come to expect this too often. Remember, this is in fact a rare occurrence in baseball!

On another note, Boston’s captain and catcher, Jason Varitek, caught his major league record breaking 4th no hitter last night! Boston’s pitchers, even the most stubborn, have all come to respect Varitek’s game calling abilities to the point where Curt Schilling regrets shaking off Varitek in Oakland last year when he came one hit away from his first ever no-hitter. That one hit in the 9th came on a pitch where Schilling did the unthinkable in Boston…he shook off Varitek! His other No hitters have been Hideo Nomo’s on April 4, 2001, Derek Lowe’s on April 27, 2002, Buchholz last year (9/1/07) and Lester’s last night (5/19/08). That’s why he’s the captain, I guess.

To read more on this follow the links below.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com article HERE.Sean McAdam in a Special to ESPN.com wrote this article.Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe wrote this article on Lester and this one on Varitek.This last link comes from the blogosphere, click HERE for a post by the author(s) of the blog Small White Ball.

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