BOSTON, MA - June 22: Jair Jurrjens #49 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of the game at Fenway Park on June 22, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
There's really no explaining what just happened. Carrying an ERA over 9.00 into the night (and greater than 5.00 in Triple-A), Jurrjens threw 7.2 innings of one-run baseball, allowing all of three hits in the process.
Jon Lester would claim that the difference between his night and Jurrjens' was that his good pitches were put into play and fell in for hits, and that Jurrjens' were not or did not. And to some extent that's right, but at least in my mind this was far from just luck.
Watching Lester tonight he certainly knew where he wanted to put the ball. The problem is so did the Braves. With a very wide strike zone, Lester tried to pound the outside part of the plate, and to his credit he did a lot of that. The problem was that he perhaps did it too much. From the beginning, when Brian McCann took a low-and-away cutter and cued it into the outfield for a single, the Braves seemed to be able to sit outside, covering the area away which could have been Lester's bread and butter if he'd just backed them off some more.
Instead, Lester was predictable, and the Braves took advantage, picking up hit after hit after hit.
The result of it all was a bizarre, frustrating game with only a small bit of light in doubles from Will MIddlebrooks and Daniel Nava in the eighth inning that got the Sox on the board. Of course, Mark Melancon gave the run right back in the next inning, and Craig Kimbrel quickly extreminated any hopes of another late rally because that's what he does.
It's a disappointing end to a five-game winning streak--one that shouldn't have happened based on the pitching matchup. The Sox will have to put this one behind them, however. Having made their way back to three games over .500, they can hardly afford a slump like they had the last time they reached this point.