For Jon Lester, the hits just keep on coming.
There are, of course, multiple ways to interpret that. In this instance, it does not mean "great games" or the actual statistic of hits, but rather "blows," because if there's one guy who can't seem to catch a break these days it's him.
Lester came out Tuesday night and faced 12 batters in four innings. He needed just one double play to erase a ground ball single, and then allowed another single in the fifth to make it 16 faced headed into the sixth.
Meanwhile, the Sox had been pounding Ryan Dempster pitches into the walls...and providing Lester with not a single run in support, somehow wasting every single opportunity.
Then came the sixth, and Lester just couldn't hold on any longer. David Murphy doubled to right, and after Mike Olt struck out, Ian Kinsler found the Monster for the RBI single. A ground ball and another single would bring home a second run, and just like that the Sox were in a hole. With some walks Lester vehemently disagreed with (what's new?) costing the lefty another pair of runs in the seventh, it was just another disappointing finish to what could have been a start to establish a legitimate streak of effective pitching. One he desperately needs right now.
The decision to put Nick Punto in at third proved as wasteful as one might imagine. Punto went 0-for-2 with a strikeout, and then was replaced by Will Middlebrooks, who quickly launched a three-run shot to the Monster. Punto never did get a chance with runners on, but if Will had been batting sixth or seventh, as he likely would have, who knows?
The homer brought the Red Sox close, but in typical 2012 fashion the bullpen let it get away from them again immediately, and in the end it's just another mediocre Fenway Park loss for the Red Sox. The top-four who had eleven hits in Monday's game provided three, a walk, and an ejection (for Dustin Pedroia after reigniting an argument with first base umpire Paul Nauert over an atrocious call on a check swing).
Frustrated by bad timing, by a bad lineup, by bad umpires, by bad play, the Red Sox lose again, and are right back below .500. Their flirtation with that mark this year is nothing short of bizarre.