BOSTON -- This has been a lost season for Jon Lester as much as it has for anyone in a Red Sox uniform. The left-hander took the loss Wednesday night in the home finale against the Rays, 4-2.Lester went six innings giving up three runs on four hits and walk with five strikeouts. It was his team-leading 17th quality start of the season. With a one-run lead, he did not allow a hit until there was one out in the fifth inning, a single to Jeff Keppinger. He quickly lost the lead, giving up back-to-back home runs to Carlos Pena, the next batter, and Ben Francisco.Lester fell to 9-14 with a 4.94 ERA. This is his first losing season in his seven-year career.I said before the game he was on the bottom of his tank but he pitched great, said manager Bobby Valentine. Who would have thunk it would be Carlos Pena against left-handers that beat us but I guess thats the way this seasons been going. He made really good pitches the whole night. The 2-1 pitch to Pena might have been in the sweet spot but he grounds out to second on the pitch a lot too. Gave us six innings, four hits, with a little more offense we might have been able to get him a win.Lester has lost each of his last three starts and has not won since Sept. 4 at Seattle, four starts ago.My stuff didn't change, said Lester, who had been under the weather going into the game. Had good stuff through the whole game, but yeah, two pitches.In his career, Pena, a left-handed hitter, is hitting just .206 against left-handed pitchers. But against Lester, he entered the game hitting .267, going 12-for-45. He has seven home runs off Lester.If I knew it wouldnt be that way, Lester said. Everybody has that guy. Im pretty good against other guys and hes pretty good against me.Valentine mentioned before the game he thought Lester was reaching the bottom of his tank. Lester made his 32nd start Wednesday, one behind his career high in 2008. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia checked with the lefty after the fifth inning.Yeah, he was getting real tired, said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. I asked him if he was okay. You could tell just by his answer he was getting real tired. But he went back out there that next inning and pitched a scoreless inning. Just did a great job, just battled his butt off. Thats what hes done for us all year.Im down in the tank because I was sick, he said. Still taking the ball, still grinding it out. Ive just been under the weather for the past couple of days and that fifth inning kind of took a lot out of me and I didn't think it was fair for me to go back out there when I didnt have anything. I just went ahead and told him that.I felt fine through the whole game. When I got done through that sixth it kind of just hit me. Legs felt tired, body felt tired from being sick. As far as starting off good and being powerful, felt like I had a good fastball, good cutter early on. I had to, I keep saying, buying into what weve been working on and my stuff has gotten better, Ive gotten more consistent, just always comes down to just two pitches, three pitches a game that end up costing me the game.I felt like I threw the hell out of the ball tonight. The Pena ball I wouldnt take back. Wanted it down and away and it was down and away.Lester will have one more start this season, in New York on Tuesday. He cant salvage a winning record, but he can salvage a strong outing to take into the offseason.It would be nice, he said with a laugh. Would be great, but like I said before Im trying to forget about stats, Im trying to forget about wins and losses and ERA and just show my teammates that hey I can take the ball every five days and Im going to compete my butt off and at the end of it if we win we win, if we lose we lose. Im going to do everything I can to control what I can and its all I can do. Just keep taking the ball.
Contrary to Friday's report, Hanley Ramirez is not and never was under federal and state investigation. According to the Boston Globe, a friend of Ramirez dropped his name in an attempt to avoid an arrest.
Here are the details from The Globe's report:
The man claimed that the box contained books, and that Ramirez’s mother “had shipped the box to him in New York to hand-deliver to his friend (Ramirez) in Boston,” according to the affidavit.
In an attempt to back up his story, the man called Ramirez via FaceTime on his cell phone, then handed it to the trooper. The trooper asked Ramirez if he was aware that his friend was en route to visit him and was delivering a box from his mother. Ramirez said he “was not aware,” according to the affidavit. The trooper asked if he could open the box and Ramirez agreed.
The box contained a gift bag, with two kilograms of fentanyl inside, the affidavit says.
The man was arrested on drug trafficking charges and “immediately began stating that his friend (Ramirez) was not involved at all, and that the box wasn’t for him,” the affidavit says.
The man’s attorney, who asked that he not be named because of concerns it would help identify his client, said “his use of Mr. Ramirez’s name was an ill-thought-out attempt to evade further police scrutiny.”
Alex Cora and the Red Sox were adamant when Friday's report by ABC's Michelle McPhee came out that they were unaware of any investigation involving Ramirez.
Ramirez's agent, Adam Katz, released a statement on the matter per USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale:
Adam Katz, Hanley Ramirez’s agent: The reporting on Hanley’s involvement in this matter was reckless and irresponsible. It’s unfortunate that one careless, inaccurate story can generate such widespread negative and damaging coverage. (More)— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 24, 2018
Adam Katz: Hanley is pleased to be absolved from wrongdoing and having any involvement in this matter.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 24, 2018
NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE
BOSTON - Chris Sale struck out 13 over seven dazzling innings, Mitch Moreland hit a two-run homer and the Boston Red Sox won the weekend and season series over the Seattle Mariners with a 5-0 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Sale (7-4) gave up four hits, walked one and ended his day by striking out Mike Zunino swinging on a 100-mph fastball. Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes each pitched an inning to complete the four-hit shutout.
Mostly mixing an overpowering fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s with a sharp-breaking slider in the low 80s, the lanky Sale was working quickly and dominant from the start.
He struck out 10 of the first 16 batters he faced, including the side in order in the fifth - the last two swinging on 99 mph fastballs.
Jackie Bradley Jr. had three singles and Rafael Devers added an RBI double for Boston, which struggled offensively in a loss Saturday after putting up 14 runs and 20 hits in the series opener.
The Mariners have lost six of seven games and fell to 1-5 on their 10-game East Coast trip.
Marco Gonzales (7-5) gave up five runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out six without a walk.
The Red Sox broke ahead 3-0 in the fifth on the double by Devers, and sacrifice flies by Sandy Leon and Mookie Betts after Xander Bogaerts doubled leading off and Eduardo Nunez singled.
Moreland's homer into the center-field batter's eye made it 5-0 an inning later.
Gonzales was sharp early, spotting a fastball that broke into the low 90s along with a changeup, curveball and cutter. He had the hitters off-balance, causing a lot of weak or early swings until they began waiting on pitches. He had all six Ks through the first four innings.
Nelson Cruz had a two-out triple in the fourth, but was stranded when Ryon Healy struck out on a slider in the dirt.