These days, every time Jon Lester takes the mound, I’m reminded of that blurb I read in ESPN: The Magazine’s 2008 baseball preview issue:

“Jon Lester is a back-of-the-rotation guy,” says an AL scout. “If he was the difference between getting Johan Santana or not, [the Red Sox] made a mistake.”

I like to think that Lester read that, too. And I’m sure he didn’t give a shit. Just got back to his hot fiancee and perhaps a hearty steak-and-eggs breakfast, and quietly vowed that the only one he needed to prove the true scope of his awesomeness to was himself. To be honest, if someone told me back in March that in the middle of August, Josh Beckett would be struggling to find himself and Jon Lester would be the stopper, the savior, the vanquisher of evil, I would’ve snagged them a room at the Betty Ford clinic at once. But here we are, in the thick of the race, and in the four games he’s started following the Sox being swept, Lester is 3-0 with an 0.29 ERA. Simply put, he mans up when we need it most. And we couldn’t ask for anything more.

Props also to Jason Bay for providing the bulk of our offense last night with two home runs. His reaction to the number of Sox fans at Camden, as detailed in today’s Globe, is priceless: “To be honest with you, it didn’t even occur to me at that point that we were on the road.”