The word miracle gets thrown around too much as a way to describe the most ordinary of occurrences, but something truly miraculous did occur during Sunday’s game that pitted the Boston Red Sox against the Cleveland Indians. Although pitcher Jon Lester started the contest for the Red Sox, the Red Sox were able to win the game anyway, bucking a season-long trend for at least one game. Furthermore, not only did the Red Sox win with Lester on the mound, outscoring the Indians 14-1, but they did so in such a commanding fashion that it is hard to imagine they will be able to win again in such fashion during the next Lester start.
On Sunday, Lester greatly helped lead the winning charge for the Red Sox by pitching brilliantly in what was his most dominant start of the season, even though the start only lasted 6.0 innings. The pitching performance was so impressive because he was in total control during each of his 6.0 innings on the mound. Facing 23 Indians batters, Lester only allowed three hits, two walks, and one earned run. Meanwhile, Lester further shut down the Indians by striking out 12 hitters, or 52.2 percent of the batters he faced in the game.
Due in large part to his extraordinary number of strikeouts, Lester was able to pitch to an incredible 0.09 fielding-independent ERA and a 0.58 expected fielding-independent ERA. It is the rare start where a pitcher can put up ERA statistics like that, and it is a feat that is even more precious for Lester considering how poorly he has pitched all season.
Of course, Lester certainly did not win the game by itself, and as much as he might have led the winning charge, it was the Boston Red Sox offense that truly captured the victory for the squad. In providing the Red Sox pitchers with 14 runs of support, the Red Sox hitters put on a masterful display by posting a hitting line of .390 BA/.458 OBP/.634 SLG with a .464 wOBA, which was powered by a .455 batting average on balls in play.
The players more responsible for contributing to such a spectacular hitting line were Carl Crawford (.938 wOBA), Adrian Gonzalez (.995 wOBA), and Mike Aviles (.933 wOBA). Each of those hitters have been rightfully maligned in some way so it is good for their confidence that they were able to hit so well in the victory.
However, with every Red Sox victory, there is usually a dark cloud, and this game is no different as it is unlikely this victory will spell a reversal of the fortunes of the Red Sox for the rest of the season. As we have seen time and time again with the Red Sox this season, playing well in one game does not mean they are going to be consistently good in future contests, and it is a safe bet that it will be many games before they again get such dominant performances from both their pitching and their hitting.