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  1. Comparing his last start to Masterson’s is silly. Masterson allowed 7 BB and 4 H (all singles), so you’d expect many of those runners to not move far. Lester allowed 4 HR — he really got crushed.

    Comment by Ian — July 23, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  2. I honestly think the problem with Lester has been his work ethic. He seems to be heavier this seasons, which may be due to age, but he doesn’t look the same physically as the Jon Lester who was in discussions with the CC, Cliff and Justin’s of the world. And I think this may be causing his pitches to be less effective.

    Just a thought. Good piece.

    Comment by Glenn DuPaul — July 23, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  3. So, young guy sucks all of a sudden and a big drop in velocity means he’s about to go down with catastrophic injury?

    Comment by Franco — July 23, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

  4. “Roy, Cliff, Tim, Zack, CC and Justin”

    this sounds uncomfortably like a 1996 one-hit wonder boy band.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 23, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

  5. People who say things like this without any sort of knowledge past what they see on the TV screen are just terrible.

    Terrible, I tell you.

    Comment by Sam — July 23, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  6. He loses focus. He can still make good pitches, just needs to make them more often.

    Comment by Tyler — July 23, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  7. He should probably just get back on his post chemo-steroids

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — July 23, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  8. I don’t have any knowledge other than what I see with my two eyes, but how many of us have actual knowledge into what Lester’s daily routine is?

    I made that comment without any bias towards the beer and chicken rumors. I’m just stating that Lester doesn’t look like the physical menace that he was in 2010, when was dominant.

    The guy obviously has an extremely high work ethic to be able to fight back from cancer, and I give him all the credit in the world for what he has done. But at the same time, he just doesn’t look the same.

    I was merely observing, and attempting to give some kind of hypothesis for why he isn’t as effective as the Lester we’re used to seeing.

    Comment by Glenn DuPaul — July 23, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  9. Right, if Lester looked more like CC he’d probably be better off.

    Comment by Andrew — July 23, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  10. Too much fried chicken?

    Comment by maguro — July 23, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  11. If you’re fat and successful, you’re colorful.

    If you’re fat and unsuccessful, you’re lazy.

    Duh.

    Comment by Crash Davis — July 23, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

  12. INB4 troll everdiso

    Comment by everdiso — July 23, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  13. Lance Armstrong stayed on his post-chemo steroids for years, what’s going on with Lester? Doesn’t have the heart of a winner to stick to the program?

    Comment by putupyourDUKES — July 23, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

  14. he’s murdering my fantasy team, that’s what’s wrong with him

    Comment by brendan — July 23, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  15. my take – good players have bad years. they can even lose it suddenly after a few good years in a row and never get it back.

    Comment by everdiso — July 23, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  16. Seriously, he is off his post-chemo roids.

    Comment by putupyourDUKES — July 23, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  17. Can you get the sand out your smelly vagina?

    Comment by Keith — July 23, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

  18. Right on with the sinker info. He has thrown it more this year than any other year since introducing it in 2010 (with some FT thrown in 2009) and has not had good results at all. Please, if you are not going to remove the pitch completely at least dial down how many times you throw it. What’s the Einstein definition of insanity again?

    Comment by MustBunique — July 23, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  19. I find this offensive and hope this personal attack is dealt with swiftly.

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — July 23, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  20. I don’t think Lester’s fastball velocity has dropped at all this year. Even last game, his fastball was sitting around 95 mph.

    I think the drop shown in Pitch/FX is due to some of his cutters not actually moving and being mis-identified as straight fastballs, which bring down his overall average velocity slightly.

    Really, the confusion Pitch/FX has with Lester really explains it all–his 2-seamer is fastball than his 4-seamer (what?), his cutter isn’t cutting, and a whopping 4.8% of his pitches aren’t identified compared to 0.1% a year ago. His slump has nothing to do with a loss of velocity and everything to do with a loss of feel for his secondary pitches.

    Comment by BigNachos — July 23, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  21. But CC’s always been huge. There’s a difference between being fat and getting fat. If Lester has gotten fat, and I’m not saying that he has, you have to look at that as a possible factor in his decline.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — July 23, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  22. As a Red Sox fan, I have always been skeptical that he was worthy of the “ace” title, excellent 2008-2010 seasons nonwithstanding. This stemmed from a lack of faith that he could step to the plate and deliver when it was necessary. He always seemed to be a step away to be in the Halladay, Lee, etc crowd even if the numbers would tell you otherwise. Nowadays, his attitude seems to really suck. Part of his recent struggles have to be mental. A change of scenery is in order… since a trade won’t be done… how about a DL stint with some MiLB rehab?

    Comment by Fern Mergus — July 23, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  23. Regarding your opening sentence, there’s a difference between having the 7th most fWAR and being the 7th best pitcher. I would argue that Felix Hernandez was a better pitcher (virtually identical FIP/xFIP, much better ERA (albeit in a pitcher’s park), and almost 70 more innings). Haren may have been better too. fWAR shouldn’t be used as a be-all-end-all stat.

    Comment by vivalajeter — July 23, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

  24. if wOBA against doesn’t stabilize in sample sizes of 25-150 PA’s (which it doesn’t), why are we using these stats as a way to evaluate whether, how, or why lester is getting worse or better?

    Comment by tom s. — July 23, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  25. Nah, probably that beer and video games.

    Comment by Jack — July 23, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

  26. I don’t know what’s wrong if it’s mental or personnel but I did state last week on bleacher report about his mechanics which was noted today, that his hips are flying open which creates arm drag there for leaving him squared up to the batter. It makes them see the ball longer to identify his pitches .

    Comment by Tom trapasso — July 23, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

  27. People aren’t terrible for saying things with which you disagree or even for saying things you think are without merit. Their comments may be terrible, but they are not.

    Comment by chuckb — July 23, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  28. I wrote a pieces on this. I attributed it to his sinker and four seam fastball being too similar. There vertical movement and velocity are nearly identical. His sinker doesn’t actually sink. The horizontal movement on his cutter is breaking away from righties, while it use to break towards righties.

    I used some pitch f/x/ and fangraphs earlier piece on the issue.

    I believe limiting his sinker usage and bring back the fastball,cutter, curve,changeup will help Lester a lot.

    Comment by GilaMonster — July 23, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

  29. Also I pose this question. Why would Lester, a pitcher who has had a high GB% rate with his fastball and cutter, decide to start being a sinkerball pitcher?

    It seems odd.

    Comment by GilaMonster — July 23, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

  30. Your double negative kind’ve ruined your excellent point about this article.

    Comment by Grammarpolice — July 23, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

  31. I’m trying to figure out if there was any point where we named him with that list at the end… oh that’s right, we haven’t.

    Comment by Ray — July 23, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  32. Incorrect

    Comment by MustBunique — July 23, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

  33. Lester doesn’t throw a sinker and never has. I don’t remember him ever using the term.

    Problem number one, he got cutter happy. After a few years, hitters got very comfortable with it. Even when he threw it as well as he ever did, it was getting absolutetly crushed this year.

    Then he started getting under all his pitches. Even at 94 the fastball looked like it was suspended on a tee.

    His location was not very good.

    He made an obvious effort in the first inning of his last start to pitch downhill and stay on top of the ball, and this left him with no idea how to locate whatever, so he went back to his old new habbits.

    Two left handed starters for Toronto dominated the Red Sox with sub-90 stuff–one sat at 86. Lester on the other hand apparently never learned one thing about pitching because he didn’t have the need, or so he thought. He is completely lost, and admittedly so. It is hard to believe someone with several years in MLB could be so unprepared and so clueless, but he is. This was coming down last year, and he did not one thing over the winter to examine what was going on.

    Comment by james wilson — July 24, 2012 @ 3:53 am

  34. And the fact that a pitcher plays in a park that suppresses runs/etc by 20% shouldn’t be just an aside.

    Lester pitches in a park that inflates runs. Hernandez in one that heavily suppresses.

    Comment by RC — July 24, 2012 @ 9:27 am

  35. Don’t mean to suggest that you can’t see the forest for the trees, etc, but that’s an awfully detailed breakdown of someone’s statistical splits to ignore the most glaring thing on the guy’s resume’, which is his home-and-away. His Fenway ERA is 4 runs higher (!) than his road (7.39 to 3.04)(I’ve never seen a split like that before – have you? 4 runs hgher?), opposing BA is 100 pts higher (!), slugging is 200 pts higher (!!), wOBA is 125 pts higher (!!!) – none of the problems that you exhaustively analyze exist anywhere for Lester but home/Fenway. I honestly have no idea if/how Fenway affects him in particular, but you can’t try to analyze his problem and somehow not even mention it. It’s kinda like you “buried the lead”. Gotta be careful sometimes that you’re not staring so hard at the numbers that you don’t notice the 800-lb. gorilla looking over your shoulder…. Again, I’m not saying there’s any rationality to how he is now unable to perform in front of his home crowd, but it has obviously (both practically and statistically) become the primary factor in his melt-down, and the other stats/splits look relatively secondary by comparison.

    Comment by mg — July 24, 2012 @ 10:27 am

  36. Totally agree. People are idiots.

    Comment by Tim — July 24, 2012 @ 10:44 am

  37. I assume their hit would be the song “Strike Three (You’re Out)”. Parentheticals are umpire vocal samples:

    “You’re out of the game! (Strike one!)
    Out of my heart! (Strike two!)
    Out of my life! (Steeeee-rike three!)
    Strike one, two three (Yerrrrrr outta here!)”

    Comment by Ludwig von Koopa — July 24, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  38. I would have put more effort into making it rhyme properly, but those boy band songs never seemed to rhyme either.

    Comment by Ludwig von Koopa — July 24, 2012 @ 10:55 am

  39. Did Safeco suppress them by 20% in 2008-2010 though? I thought this year was an extreme example for Safeco, but the author is noting 2008-2010. And wouldn’t FIP/xFIP take this into account anyway?

    Felix pitched to a nearly identical FIP/xFIP, but he pitched more than 20 extra innings per season. An argument can easily be made that he was as good or better than Lester. You can’t just sort by WAR and say those are the best players, in order. It’s a great starting point, but not it’s not foolproof.

    Comment by vivalajeter — July 24, 2012 @ 11:26 am

  40. What isn’t wrong with Jon Lester?

    Comment by jorgath — July 24, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  41. Your use of the word “kind’ve” ruined your attempt to troll Tom’s comment. Since the phrase is “kind of” and not “kind have.” Also, “kind’ve” is not a word. Anywhere.

    Comment by GrammarFBI — July 24, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

  42. Please take these kind of comments to youtube where they belong.

    Comment by Charles — July 25, 2012 @ 10:37 am

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