Prospect Diary: Jon Lester

See also: Jon Lester’s previous prospect diary

Jon Lester is contributing a diary about life at Triple-A Pawtucket to Baseball America. Monday, Lester allowed a pair of runs on three hits and struck out four as the Paw Sox defeated Ottawa, 5-4. In this entry, he discusses his last outing, the frustration of being kept to such a strict pitch count early in the season and who some of his favorite players were growing up in Washington.

Right now I’m writing to you from beautiful Ottawa, Canada. We just beat the Lynx 5-4. I started tonight and felt good–my stuff was good, the command wasn’t all there but it was a positive outing. They are finally letting me go a little longer. Going a little longer in the game allows you more time to pitch and not just throw. I can now set guys up for their second at bat, rather than just throwing and hoping they get themselves out. I think my curveball is finally coming around, too–which is a great sign. I found some things out the other day in my pen that weren’t all there. So some kinks are starting to get ironed out . . .

My stuff has been good. If you were an outsider looking in you wouldn’t think that, because of the numbers that I’m putting up. I’ve really just gotten unlucky at times. Take for instance the game in Charlotte. I gave up two home runs that at any other park would have been fly outs. So now your looking at that outing and saying, ‘Wow he gave up five runs in three innings–he must not of pitched well.’

In reality, I probably had my best stuff so far this year. Then there’s the times when you have to go out and compete without your best stuff. Those games are fun sometimes though. I say that because you have to figure out how to get guys out without your best fastball, curve or whatever it may be. It’s a challenge when you face a hitter for a second time–you know you have to find a different way of getting him out.

Being on this pitch count thing sucks, but I have to do what the Red Sox want me to do. They came to me at the start of the year and said they were going to put me on a strict pitch count, so I basically just have to sit back and wear it–there’s nothing I can really do. I just have to go out, pitch and not worry about what my pitch count is. Now that were a month into the season, they’re letting me go five (innings) or 75 pitches now. It’s nice for two reasons–1) I might actually get a win and 2) I can start getting into a routine and have a chance to establish more of a rhythm.

Growing up in Seattle, I had some great players to look up to–Randy Johnson, (Ken) Griffey Jr., A-Rod, and Edgar Martinez . . . Great players and great people. When you’re young, however, you can really never watch a whole game so I would sit down just long enough to watch Griffey hit a home run and Randy strike another guy out. Other than those guys I didn’t really like anyone else, simply because they weren’t Mariners.

If you have questions for Jon Lester, please e-mail them to Chris Kline and he’ll pass them along to Lester. Some will be answered in future diary entries.