FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s only been two spring training starts, but Red Sox manager John Farrell says that the difference between Jon Lester this spring and last year has been very apparent. Lester, coming off a year when he went 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA, has now logged five scoreless innings this spring, including three against the Pirates on Friday night. While the left-hander incorporated his full pitch mix — including his curveball, changeup and cutter against Pittsburgh — it was the location of his fastball that Farrell considered the most telling sign of Friday night.
“With each time Jon gets on the mound, whether it’s in side work or in game action, he’s been down in the zone consistently. That was the case again tonight,” Farrell said. “When you look at the lower half in his delivery, he’s working downhill much more consistently. If you look at video, any time mid-season last year till now, you’ll notice a very different lead leg. That’s been able to allow him to work from kind of a high to low type trajectory through the strike zone rather than collapsing on the backside and pushing the fastball through the zone. Probably the quickest way I could explain it. And that’s what’s allowed him to throw the ball down at the bottom of the zone.”
Of the nine outs Lester recorded on Friday, five were on groundballs, two were on strikeouts and two were on flyballs. Given that he is coming off a year in which he permitted a career-high 25 homers, the idea of getting Lester’s mechanics to a point where his arm is swinging overhead — thus permitting him to leverage the ball downhill — has been an emphasis. To date, at this very early stage of the spring, the left-hander has been successful in the undertaking.
“I was able to do the same things we’ve talked about early on — staying tall and driving the ball downhill,” said Lester. “I’m becoming more comfortable with the adjustments that we’re making. Anytime you make changes and you get good results from those changes, it reinforces them and you keep working on them. That was the thing last year. We’re trying to make changes and not getting good results, so it’s hard to stick with those and ride them out. Spring training is a great time to do it and really work on it because results don’t matter, but at the same time you still want to go out and have good results.”
Ian talks with Chris about the NFL offseason and specifically what the Pats have done and will do. He talks about NFL free agency, if Brandon Spike will come back to New England, all things NFL Draft and more in an extensive interview.
in hour 2 of NFL Sunday, Greg and Chris discuss some news from around the league including the Philip Rivers situation in San Diego, if the Titans may sign Rivers, where Marcus Mariota may end up, and what the Jets will do. Price talks with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport about all things NFL offseason and the draft. Finally, the guys touch on if the NFL is over-saturating fans with too much coverage all year round now.
Greg and Chris talk a ton of NFL Draft in hour 1 of the show. They discuss what the Pats might do with their early picks and get Mike Petraglia's thoughts on the issue as well.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
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Buster Olney of ESPN joins the guys to talk about the first two weeks of the baseball season. They discuss the struggling Red Sox rotation and the potential of the high-powered offense.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan after the Red Sox come back to beat the Nationals 8-7.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
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The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
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Kyle Draper and Sports Radio Hack Lou Merloni make up after beefing earlier in the week, Aaron Hernandez gets taken down by Larry Willmore, and our very own Christian Fauria makes his Country Music Debut
Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman joins the guys to defend his prediction of Celtics in 6.
After some suspicious outfield play from Red Sox Left Fielder Hanley Ramirez, the guys question whether or not he has what it takes to play in the outfield, a position he has never played before.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the Celtics loss in game one, and whether or not they can steal game two before returning to Boston on Thursday.
We wrap up the day with some of the best sound you may have missed.
Michael, Jerry and Andy Hart discuss this year's Celtics as they enter the playoffs to take one of the best teams in the East in the NBA Playoffs.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Ben and Sam are joined by Julian Edlow from WEEI.com to give their predictions on every series in the NBA Playoffs.
Jerry is joined by hockey writer Brian "Rear Admiral" McGonagle of Barstool Sports to perform a post-mortem on what happened to the 2014-15 Bruins, who's to blame and where the team goes from here.
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