After getting drilled in the helmet by a R.A. Dickey knuckleball, Mike Napoli follows through on his monstrous 451-foot home run at Rogers Centre. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young) Video: Napoli Beaned, Homers into Fifth Deck in 7-Run 11th Inning for Red Sox Xander Bogaerts striking out (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports) Struggling Season Continues for Xander Bogaerts Logan Mankins is heading to Tampa Bay for TE Tim Wright and a draft pick. (Getty Images) Report: Patriots Trade Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay Jon Lester (Ezra Shaw, Getty Images) Red Sox Have Decisions to Make and Money to Spend this Off-Season

Red Sox Fall 8-2, Lester Loses Chance at 20 Wins

The White Sox forced Lester out of the game after just 4 innings (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Entering the final game against the White Sox all the Red Sox had left to play for this season was the Mike Lowell farewell game, spoiler rights against the Yankees, and Jon Lester’s road toward 20 wins. Four innings into the game, Lester’s quest had ended.

There’s often talk about relief pitchers having the “closer mentality” that serves them well in the 9th inning of a close game, but poorly in the seventh inning of a blowout just to get some work in. With their playoff chances dashed, maybe some of that got into the head of Jon Lester, who could do nothing right against the White Sox. Maybe he was just due for a bad start and coincidence got the better of him. Whatever the reason, it was a tough way for the Sox lefty to finish the year.

Chicago started off the game well, scoring a quick run in the first and then another in the third, which tied the score 2-2. Unfortunately for Lester, the strike zone was out of his control as he walked 5 on the night, equaling his strikeout total. With some of those walks loading the bases for Paul Konerko, the game was quickly out of hand. The dependable Konerko, continuing his resurgent season, connected for a grand slam, putting the Red Sox in a hole they would never escape. Adding insult to injury, Juan Pierre stole three bases off the combination of Lester and Victor Martinez, who had recently shown improvement controlling the running game.

Sox Stud of the Game: Victor Martinez

What can you say, the guy can hit lefties. Victor drove in both Red Sox runs with his 20th homer of the season.

Sox Dud of the Game:  Jon Lester

Of all the games for Lester to have an off night, this one was a particularly poor. Without much excitement left in the season, Lester’s quest for 20 wins, while not the yardstick it used to be, was still a cause for joy in Red Sox Nation.

Game Notes:

W: Danks (15-11)

L: Lester (19-9)

  • Ryan Kalish hit collected his seventh stolen base of the season.
  • The Red Sox won just one game in the season series against the Chicago brand of Sox.
  • The bullpen managed four scoreless innings of work.

About Mike Carlucci

Mike Carlucci writes about the Red Sox for Sports of Boston and can be found blogging about baseball and technology. He has a J.D and enjoys palindromes and espresso. You can follow him on Twitter @mikecarlucci or on Google+.

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