If the Boston Red Sox were to have a successful season this year, much of it relied on the arm of left-handed pitcher Jon Lester. And now that reliance has the Red Sox just one win away from winning the World Series as Lester turned in another strong performance as the Red Sox took a 3-2 series lead with a 3-1 Game 5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. As the Boston Globe reports on October 29, Lester was in command and has become the "backbone" of the team.
Lester's 7 2/3 innings Monday night nearly matched his 7 2/3 shutout innings performance that led Boston to a Game 1 victory. After allowing a fourth inning homerun to Matt Holliday, the Red Sox ace was basically flawless the rest of the night. What was more impressive is it was the first run Lester has given up in a World Series game ending a 16 2/3 innings scoreless streak in the World Series. Red Sox catcher David Ross, who drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh described Lester as the team's "horse".
"We expect a lot of him. He's pitching like the ace he is. I love catching him. I love catching all these guys."
Jon Lester can be labeled a big game pitcher, especially in the postseason. So far this year he is 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA in five postseason starts this year. He has gone up against some tough pitchers, which has made his performance much more noteworthy and a key reason why this year's Red Sox team is just a victory away from being World Series champions after a dismal 2012 season .
The Red Sox ace was in command Monday night and had the strength to finish the game despite pitching through back tightness. But with the season on the line, Lester said he just had to fight through the pain because he has all off-season to rest and heal. He had to lay it all on the line for the team.
"I feel like it's Oct. 29th, but stuff like that you just have to battle through," Lester said. "We've got 25, 28, however many guys in that dugout that are relying on you to go out and pitch innings, and whatever it is now, you've got to put on the back burner, just like [Clay Buchholz] did [Sunday]. We've got three months to recover. The time is now. We've got to win now."
That is the mentality the team has adapted all year long and if the series goes to a Game 7, Lester may just have to lay it on the line one more time for the team in relief duty.