(BaseballStL) -- After facing the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston's pitching seems like a vacation. While they certainly have great hurlers, the Red Sox do their damage at the plate. They posted an MLB-best run differential of +197. The Cardinals were a close second at +187.
Boston brings out 15-8 Jon Lester for Game 1. While he is a lefty, the splits show he's no Clayton Kershaw.
Lester starts strong, holding hitters to an eyelash over .200 through the first inning and the first 25 pitches of a game, despite it being his most walk-heavy inning. From there hitters must use what they saw, because the next 25 pitches are a bit rougher for him. Hitters post a .294 average and slug .463.
That probably has something to do with the cleanup hitter being in that stretch. Four hitters absolutely own Lester, posting a slash line of .333/.382/.591. That slot will be manned by Allen Craig.
Through the second and the third innings, the Boston hurler does his damage, with a strikeout to walk ratio of 4.0.
Once he gets to the fifth inning, which he reached in all 33 games he started, hitters do their damage. Betters hit .319 and took six balls over the fence, more than any other inning. Lester's ERA os more than 7.0 in the fifth.
When he's ahead of righties 0-2 or 1-2, Lester pounds the low inside corner, hitting that zone 27 percent of the time.
For lefties he throws to the same spot, though to them it's low and away. In fact, he favors that area even more to southpaws.
He uses his four seam fastball as an out pitch to righties when ahead 0-2, throwing it 43 percent of the time. His curve and cutter bring up the rear, accounting for 27 and 22 percent respectively. On 1-2, it's a bit more even, but those three pitches are still heavy favorites.
To lefties, Lester leans toward the curve more often, using it 30 percent of the time when he's ahead in the count. Lefties see a lot more fastballs first pitch, where righties get sinkers mixed in as the initial offering.
Lastly, Lester needs run support. Of his 15 wins, only one came when he received two runs or less of support. 10 of them came when the Red Sox scored six runs or more. When they scored 3-5, he was .500.