As anticipated from the moment the injury was announced. Jon Lester has been placed on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle suffered in the fourth inning of his start against the Blue Jays last night.
Reliever Scott Atchison has been called up to take his place on the roster.
Lester takes a 10-4 record and a 3.31 ERA with him to the DL. The Red Sox will need to replace him in the rotation Sunday against the Orioles. Depending on whether he’s needed out of the pen, Alfredo Aceves could make that start. He’s 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in his four starts this season.
An alternative would be Kevin Millwood, who would pitch on six days’ rest. He gave up three runs over seven innings in his last start for Triple-A Pawtucket, and is 4-0 with 4.15 ERA overall in seven starts for the club.
Judging by the way Lester finished his outing last night, the strain he suffered couldn’t have been particularly severe. The Red Sox haven’t provided a timetable for his return, but it’s possible he’ll miss just two or three starts.
It’s Lester’s first trip to the disabled list since 2007.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.