Following his latest ugly outing Sunday there was speculation that Boston would remove Jon Lester from the rotation, but instead the Red Sox will keep him on schedule to start again Saturday and simply adjust his between-starts routine a bit.
In what manager Bobby Valentine called “a nice proactive plan” Lester will prepare for Saturday’s start by throwing a simulated game Wednesday instead of his usual bullpen session.
Not only was Sunday’s start the worst of Lester’s career with 11 runs in four innings, he’s allowed 22 runs in 12.1 innings over his last three starts and now has a 5.46 ERA in 120 innings overall.
Valentine told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that Lester insists he “feels great and is throwing the ball as well as he’s thrown the ball in a couple of years.” Saturday will be a helluva test for that, as Lester will face the Yankees, in New York.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.