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Game Story: Lester + O's + Fenway = First Series Win.

I can say with all certainty that this might be, possibly, perhaps, the second most satisfying win of the season.

While Wake's gem against the A's might be certainly more awesome, this one did something to calm a significant fear; that Jon Lester, either by overuse or market correction, is not the pitcher he showed us last season. Is that fear gone? No.

But how excellent was it for us to see Lester throw 7 shutout innings today, with 9 Ks and 6 total baserunners? It ain't pushovers in that Oriole lineup either, though it's worth noting that a few of their toughest bat LH. And now I'm pissing all over the accomplishment. Even given that aforementioned fact, I feel a lot more confident in Lester going forward. 

And it might be just as important that he did it on a day on which his margin of error was small. The Sox got a run in the 2nd on a Youkilis-Lowell combo package, and then Nick Green doubled in the 5th and was knocked in by DP. Uehara pitched well for the O's, though that still doesn't excuse Papi's continuing issues at the plate. Wouldn't be awful to get him a day off soon, for his sake and for the rest of the team.

Better options out of the 3-hole right now? Basically everyone on the active roster who is not a C or primarily on the team to play SS. And even that's not entirely true...

The bullpen was fine today. Ramon Ramirez got what has now become expected from him, a 1-2-3 inning, and Saito, despite giving us a little bit of stress, ultimately did his job and got his first save of the season. If the stressful stuff isn't the norm for him, he'll certainly continue to get most of those chances when Paps is not available. Otherwise, Ramirez, MDC, and Oki are all decent choices.

Patriots' Day tomorrow, and Justin Masterson gets the start. Make sure you skip work if possible.