To say Jon Lester stumbled out of the gate would be to disgrace stumblers everywhere. It was more like Lester slid on his face out of the gate.
However, he’s been looking ace over his last two start, including a masterful one-hit shutout on Wednesday. Lester struck out 11 and walked two over seven innings, lowering his ERA to 4.71 and his WHIP to 1.43.
He’s an ace. It’s that simple.
Nine other great performances from Wednesday:
Andrew McCutchen — Toyed with putting McCutchen in the intro because he hit a pair of homers. They were only solo shots and his only counting stats came on the dingers. He did go 4-for-7 in a marathon of a game.
Chris Young — Hey, look, there’s Chris Young doing work again. Five RBI, including a three-run home run, kind of work. He went 2-for-4 and walked once.
James Shields — Toyed with Shields at the top, too. But one earned run is greater than no earned runs, so Shields gets this treatment. Come to think of it, being in the top 10 is a privilege only 10 players get every day. Shields should be happy. He K’d 12 and allowed seven baserunners (one walk). He’s got a 3.38 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP this season and I could see him keeping those numbers and competing with Matt Garza and David Price for the title of Rays Ace.
Torii Hunter — Hit his second home run of the season on Wednesday in a 3-for-4 day. Hunter scored twice and drove in three runs. He’s hitting .309 with 12 runs and 10 RBI.
Tim Lincecum — How good is a pitcher when he gives up a pair of earned runs, allows just four baserunners and strikes out 11 in 8.1 innings pitched but gets a “meh” from us? Lincecum is super awesome. He’s got a 43-to-7 K/BB rate this season to go along with a 1.27 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP.
Brandon Inge — One of his two hits was a solo homer, but Inge drove in two more runs and scored again. He has 14 RBI but is hitting only .265 with five runs scored. He’s not a good fantasy option at this point. If he pops another homer tomorrow, you can think streak and stream to juice your power, but cut him at the first sign of trouble.
Nate Schierholz — Don’t know much about Schierholz, but based on his stats he looks like a 15-homer hitter with .280 potential. He went 5-for-5 Wednesday and scored three runs. He also drove in a run and walked once. The performance boosted his average 78 points to .378. I wouldn’t recommend picking him up, but that’s probably just me still trying to cleanse a Eugenio Velez add from my conscience.
Jaime Garcia — Picked up the Cardinals prospect in a couple of my leagues. He’s bound to disappoint at some point, but we should ride these shutouts as long as we can. He only struck out five, but allowed just five baserunners (one walk) in seven shutout innings. His ERA is 1.04 and his WHIP is 0.96.
Carlos Gonzalez — On Tuesday, Gonzalez helped you in all five cats: Batting average (2-for-3), runs (2), RBI (2), home runs (1) and stolen bases (1). Despite the hammy, he’s on his way to busting my optimistic preseason projections.
Tell us who your lineup stud and lineup dud of the day were in the comments. E-mail any questions — lineup-, trade- or bacon-related — to ep(at)chinstrapninjas.com.