Jon Lester (2.38) / Jarrod Washburn (4.41), 4 PM
Lester, who grew up in Tacoma, says his ninth major league start will be "nerve-racking".
Jon's father: "My wife [Kathy] watches on MLB's gamecasts. I won't watch. I get too nervous. I sit out in the garage and drink a Coke. She'll come in and give me updates. But I can't watch."
Bob Christofferson, the head groundskeeper at Safeco, was a former grade-school coach of Lester: "I'm probably as nervous as his mom and dad when I watch him pitch. ... He can have a good start, as long as the Mariners win."
Rick Barnhart, Lester's baseball coach at Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma: "He was always a level above everyone else. As a freshman, he went right to the varsity. As a starter, he was the MVP as a ninth grader. ... His senior year, there must have been 25-to-30 scouts at every game and practice. I swear [the scouts] went to the bathroom with him."
Lester: "Going through the draft, I wanted to be a Mariner. I came up here for a pre-draft workout. I think they were interested. I just don't think they were interested in the round that I wanted to be picked in and they had other plans for that pick. It's a business and they had to do what they had to do."
Todd Claus, Portland Sea Dogs (AA) manager: "It would have been very tempting to give away Papelbon and Lester in trades for now-needs, but Theo keeps the big picture. He's not willing to mortgage the farm for a quick fix. ... I've always maintained from the first day I saw him he's one of the best prospects in the minor leagues I've ever seen. I've always believed he'd be a front end of the rotation starter. I just didn't know he'd have this kind of success this soon."
The Seattle Times has a good feature on Lester.
Lester's eight starts:
If the Manny-for-Slappy trade had gone through, Lester would be the property of the Rangers right now.Date Opp Score Dec IP H R ER BB K
0610 Tex L 7-4 — 4.1 5 3 3 4 4
0616 Atl W 4-1 W 6.0 5 1 1 3 5
0621 Was W 9-3 W 6.0 3 1 1 2 10
0627 NYM W 9-4 W 5.0 4 2 2 5 5
0702 Fla W 4-3 — 5.0 7 2 2 3 3
0707 CWS W 7-2 W 6.0 6 2 2 3 3
0713 Oak L 5-4 — 5.0 5 1 1 5 3
0718 KC W 1-0 W 8.0 1 0 0 4 4
5-0 45.1 36 12 12 29 37 2.38