I've let my team down a lot this year. It's hard for me to walk around this clubhouse and look guys in the eye right now. ... [I]t's embarrassing.So, what the hell is going on?
WEEI's Rob Bradford:
Three separate major league voices, all of whom have an extensive history of analyzing the Sox lefty, came to the same conclusion when asked by WEEI.com what is wrong with Lester.
According to the trio, this doesn't appear to be a physical issue (which both Lester and the Red Sox have continuously stated), and neither the velocity or overall stuff has disappeared to the point of diminishing returns. (And, just for good measure, another former major leaguer who made a living identifying pitch-tipping said Lester is not tipping his pitches.)
There is a consensus. Three takes, one consistent conclusion:
-- When delivering the ball, Lester is throwing his lead leg out toward the plate instead of executing more of a straight, more compact, up-and-down motion.
-- The leg kick is leaving his front foot to drift toward the right. ("Sometimes his toe was pointing toward the Blue Jays dugout," said one of those analyzing the situation.) One of the results of such an approach is opening up his body to the hitter well before he should, allowing the hitter to get a great look at what is being delivered. Blue Jays hitters whispered after the game that every curveball the starter threw could be easily identified.
-- Another result of letting his lead leg drift out and and over is Lester's arm slot dropping, which causes both a lack of command and the flattening out of his fastball. A delivery that included a more straight-up, down-and-through motion would automatically force a more over-the-top arm angle, not allowing the lefty to throw across his body.
When asked if this has been something out of the blue, one of those breaking down the situation said these are issues that have gotten progressively worse over the last two years.