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Red Sox 10, Tigers 6: Sox bounce back in spite of Jon Lester

The Red Sox bounced back with a win Friday night, but it came in spite of Jon Lester rather than because of him.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox bounced back from a short losing streak with a 10-6 win against the Detroit Tigers.

By all accounts, this is a good win for the Red Sox. The division-leading Tigers are certainly not slouches, and Doug Fister is a good pitcher. The Sox picked up one big hit in the first on a Shane Victorino homer, but the lion's share of the damage done against the Detroit starter was more a consequence of the Tigers' deficiencies than anything else. Two ground ball singles led to a run in the third, and no fewer than four ground balls went for hits in the fourth. Combined with a bloop and a flare to start he inning, and the Sox had put up four more runs--good for six total--against Fister. Few balls were hit hard, but Detroit's infield defense simply wasn't up to the task of stopping anything.

That's all to the good, as were the four insurance runs picked up in the later innings against Detroit's bullpen. And it's tempting to just take the win, take the 10 runs, and move on feeling bright and happy.

Unfortunately, though, we have to talk about Jon Lester.

For four innings, Jon Lester was rolling along well enough. He'd escaped first inning trouble with a mediocre pitch to Prince Fielder that had resulted in a one-hopper to Dustin Pedroia. Hit as hard as it was, it could easily have been a hit, but was instead an inning-ending double play.

Some ground balls led to a second inning run, but after four, Lester was actually looking decent on the mound. A couple more innings of this, and perhaps we would be talking about a resurgent Lester. Instead, the second pitch of the fifth was a solo shot, and after a pair of singles and a pop-out, the eleventh pitch of the frame resulted in a towering fly ball to left field, and a three-run shot from Miguel Cabrera that shrank the lead down to one.

Simply put, Jon Lester can't get through an outing right now. If his last start provided signs that he might be moving in either direction, this one seems proof positive that there is no improvement forthcoming. He's a mess, and if given the opportunity, seems likely to lose games for the team in the days to come.

Buchholz, ideally, will be back soon. John Lackey and Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront are solid enough options at the moment. After that there's plenty of depth to choose from in Franklin Morales, Allen Webster, Felix Doubront, and, yes, even Alfredo Aceves. Much like Bailey last night, this feels like the last straw. Something has to change for him, and it's clear that starting game after game isn't going to help any. It's time to take advantage of that depth, and fix Lester before his continued presence hurts to team too much.

For this one game, though, Lester's performance was not enough to cost Boston the game, and the Red Sox picked up an important win, avoiding a three-game losing streak in the process. And for that we can celebrate.

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