When Bud Selig saw this year’s interleague play schedule he must have been drooling over two possible matchups: Strasburg vs Greinke and Lester vs Lincecum. Who knows, maybe he was a genius and was looking forward to Edwin Jackson vs. Jeff Niemann, but I kinda doubt it.
If you listened to the usher I stood next to in the first inning then “Lester looked hittable.” If an infield single, two stolen bases and a RBI groundout is defined as “hittable” then sure. But using that scale, Lincecum was batting practice.
Before Lincecum was pinch hit for in the third inning he gave up a splash-down homer to Papi that may have killed a kayaker in the bay on its way down (honestly, it left that bat so high and was gone so fast that I think it entered the stratosphere and was on fire on the way down), and almost gave up a grand slam to Lester. How bad was Lincecum? He gave up a single AND a double to Bill Hall.
Opposite Lincecum, Lester’s performance was spectacular. He was in command the whole game. After the Sox gave him the lead in the 2nd, he just went on cruise control and demolished the Giants hitters. He got them swinging, he got them looking and most importantly he did it for nine innings. There are two defining characteristics of an ace: that he has dominant stuff, and that he can be counted on to stabilize the pitching staff. After Tito looked played the role of a Little League manager on Saturday, trying to make sure that every kid got a chance to pitch, the Sox needed at least seven innings from Lester. I’d say that the complete game proves once and for all that he truly is the ace of this staff.
Even with the Gay Pride Parade a couple of blocks away, all was not fairy tales and rainbows at AT&T Park on Sunday. The media learned that Victor Martinez broke a bone in his thumb after taking a couple of foul tips of the edge of his glove. Please, somebody remind me to tell the Sox players to “have a good game” instead of “break a leg.” First Pedey, then Buchholz and now V-Mart? I think that Bud Selig’s new system for equalizing the playing field of “win a game, lose a player” is going to backfire on him pretty quickly.
Even though there are still 85 games left in the season, the Sox are able to leave San Fran knowing that for the first time since Opening Night they are in the Wild Card lead. Who could have imagined that even a month ago? Maybe I need to watch these guys in person more often.