When a team is at it's lowest point, when everything is going terribly wrong, they can usually turn to one man in the rotation to save them. One starting pitcher who will take over a game when he's most needed and secure that much-need win almost single-handedly. We call them "stoppers," and for the Red Sox, there's no question that the stopper is Jon Lester.
Tonight, with the Red Sox in a long, costly losing streak, Jon Lester took the mound and allowed two home runs before he recorded his second out. By the time the second inning was over, the Jays had put up a total of seven runs. It was death by a thousand cuts with single after single after walk after single. That's not an excuse, just a description. The Red Sox needed Jon Lester to be good tonight--desperately needed him to stop the slide--and he failed magnificently.
The lineup wasn't particularly good either. Brock Holt was the only man to reach base twice. Xander Bogaerts picked up his third home run of the season, and his upward trend at the plate is one of the very few bright spots in the torrent of awful that is the Red Sox right now.
Jon Lester did manage to get through six innings, thus sparing the bullpen. And unlike with Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront, and Clay Buchholz, this is very much an outlier performance from the star lefty. The only reason we might have to expect him to do anything like this again is that he clumped his bad outings together in 2013 into a legitimate slump. Until one bad start becomes two bad starts, however, we have every reason to believe he'll be back to being his old self come next week.
That's cold comfort, though, for Red Sox fans who have now endured seven straight losses, falling from 20-19 to 20-26. I'd call it the perfect end to a miserable week, but that would be implying that the misery is ready to end, and that's hardly guaranteed.