Brayan Bello's much-anticipated MLB debut didn't go the way he had hoped. The Boston Red Sox' top pitching prospect was roughed up by the Tampa Bay Rays in front of the Fenway Park crowd on Wednesday.
Former Red Sox southpaw Jon Lester knows the feeling. Once a top prospect for Boston, he allowed three runs on five hits and four walks in 4.1 innings during his debut back in 2006. He turned out just fine, earning five All-Star nods and winning three World Series titles over the course of his 16-year MLB career.
That's part of the reason why Lester isn't sweating Bello's lackluster first start in the majors. He shared an optimistic take on the 23-year-old's debut in a conversation with NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran on Early Edition.
"I don't want this to sound bad, but really for me it was like, let's get the first one kind of done and over with," Lester told Curran from the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, as seen in the video player above. "You're so excited, you're so amped up, your preparation is so screwed up, you're in a different place, you're in the big leagues for the first time. Most of the time with that stuff, you get called up, you get there that day. It's not like you have a couple days to be around the team or get acclimated at whatever stadium that you're at.
"So that first one is so hard. I know for me there was a lot of relief after that first one. Mine didn't go the way I wanted it to either. I don't think there's many guys that the first one really goes the way you want it to. But I bet you today, hopefully he's got a little relief. Hopefully he's got some pride still. It's the big leagues; no matter how good your stuff is, you're gonna get hit around at some point."
Bello currently is the No. 3 ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization, per MLB Pipeline. The right-hander has dominated in the minor leagues this season, posting a 10-4 record with a 2.33 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 15 games between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester.
Lester has gotten a glimpse of Bello's electric stuff and is looking forward to the youngster's next chance with the big-league club.
"I'm excited to see what he does this next one because now he'll have a little bit of a routine," Lester said. "He'll be around the guys, he'll be acclimated to his surroundings. A big part of pitching, a big part of playing at any level is comfort, so hopefully he can get comfortable and go out there and -- I saw a little bit of the highlights of his stuff the other night and it's crazy good. So I'm sure he'll have some success and hopefully this next one goes well for him."
Bello is scheduled to make his second Red Sox start on Monday for the series opener in Tampa Bay.