Jon Lester gave Red Sox fans quite a
scare on Friday night when he took a Melky Cabrera line drive off the
inside of his right knee. He looked to be in considerable pain,
crumpling to the ground before limping back to the dugout. Similar
comebackers have knocked Roy Halladay (leg) and Brad Bergesen (shin)
out for the year in recent seasons.
However, X-rays on the knee came
back negative and Lester was diagnosed with a contusion on his right
quadriceps. In fact, things were looking so good on Saturday morning
that the Red Sox are now optimistic that he can make his next scheduled start against the Indians on Thursday:
“We’ll monitor him the next couple days,” Francona said. “This time
of year, they don’t always throw a side, anyway. So that doesn’t
necessarily get in the way. And we’re certainly not going to let him
pitch if he’s hobbling around out there. But he doesn’t necessarily
have to do a side day tomorrow, either. He looked pretty good. He’s
The Red Sox would like to keep Lester on his regular schedule, but
they will make an adjustment to his preparation for the postseason if
the contusion on his right quadriceps demands it.
If he makes his Thursday start, as
scheduled, he would line up perfectly to start Game One of the ALDS,
most likely against the Angels, on Wednesday, Oct. 7 or Thursday, Oct.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.