Should Lester be Game 1 starter?

September, 25, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Just a few hours before the first pitch on Thursday night, Jon Lester dressed in his street clothes and prepared to fly to New York City in advance of his teammates for his start on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

Lester will be starting the opening game against the Yankees this weekend, and with an estimated arrival time of 4:30 a.m. for the rest of the team, its young ace left early. Lester has been one of the best pitchers in the big leagues for the last four months; since the end of May he is 11-2 with a 2.13 ERA and he's won his last four decisions.

And he may just be the team's No. 1 starter -- ahead of Josh Beckett -- once the playoffs start. But on Thursday before he left for his 6:15 p.m. flight, Lester said he had not been told anything.

"I don't know what the plan is," Lester said.

What is known is that Tim Wakefield will now be starting on Wednesday, giving Lester an extra day of rest, which he said he was more than happy to have. What he wants to avoid is a scenario where he spends significant time in between starts.

"The more routine-oriented you can be, the better," Lester said. "You don't want to pitch and then two weeks later pitch again. It's tough to get into a rhythm and in that mindset, so the quicker we can turn it around the better."

If the Red Sox are the wild card, and if they start their series on Oct. 8 and name Lester the Game 1 starter, then he would have six days of rest.

Discomfort for Reddick

Before the game Thursday's game, outfielder Josh Reddick was walking around the clubhouse with a heating pad on his back. He said he has trouble sleeping on soft beds, and that on Wednesday night it caused some tightness in his back.

"It kind of knotted me up a little bit," Reddick said.

He started in right field and went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts. Reddick also revealed he got into a car accident the night the Red Sox returned from their road trip in Chicago, on Sept. 7. Reddick was driving back to his Boston hotel and went through a light on Commonwealth Ave. There was another light immediately after that he never saw, and the next thing he knew a car came through the intersection and t-boned his truck on the passenger side.

"My fender's pushed in and my door's dented," Reddick said. "I never saw [the car], I just kept going and I got T-boned. It wasn't bad."

Reddick said he wasn't hurt and still doesn't know if he was the one who ran the light. He said every time since he's driven home both lights have been green.

Quick hits

Francona earned his 561st win as Red Sox manager, second most in team history ... Boston evened its road record to .500 (39-39) with Thursday's win ... Clay Buchholz didn't give up a run in a start for the second time this season. He had been battling a head cold this week, and still pitched 6 2/3 innings on Thursday for his seventh win this season. ... Victor Martinez extended his hitting streak to 23 games; Dustin Pedroia extended his to 16 games. ... The Red Sox's magic number is down to 3. That means if they win and Texas loses tomorrow, then a win on Saturday will guarantee them a playoff spot. Daisuke Matsuzaka will be pitching on Saturday for just the third time since coming off the disabled list. He's 2-0 in his first two starts. ... David Ortiz drove in seven runs in the last two games of the series. His 25 homers since June 6 lead the league.



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