This weekend, Jon Lester put on a display at Fenway Park, tossing 15 strikeouts over 8.0 IP, while only allowing 3 base-runners. It was the highest strikeout total of any pitcher in 2014, and the highest of Lester’s career. His prior best was only nine punchouts (2013), and we’d have to go back all the way to August 12th of 2012 to find Lester’s last game with double-digit Ks as he sent down 12 Indians in Cleveland.
Of all the strikeouts accumulated from Saturday’s outing, his 14th to Craig Gentry was easily the best: a luscious backdoor Cutter that cruised back over the plate.
It was a pretty thing to watch, if you can ignore the obnoxious crowd wave in the background.
Lester has elected to nearly remove his change-up from his repertoire in favor of throwing more cutters and fastballs, and it looks like he has made the right decision. Lester is set to have his best season since 2010, currently sporting a 10.73 K/9 with a minute 1.85 BB/9, and a 2.18 FIP. His timing could not be better as he prepares to be a free agent this offseason.