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September 17, 2013

Lester, Buchholz could be quite the postseason 1-2 punch

BOSTON — Jon Lester looked happy before Sunday’s Red Sox/Yankees game, playing the air guitar while chatting with catcher David Ross.

Lester hardly has been the happiest of men over the past year or two, mainly because he hasn’t pitched well. Seriously, he often has looked downright miserable.

But right now, he is pitching great and on top of the world ... And Clay Buchholz is back and pitching darn good, too.

Don’t forget — Lester and Buchholz are the main reason the Red Sox won 18 games in April.

The duo combined for a 9-0 record during the first month. Then, around mid-May/early-June, they disappeared. Buchholz missed three months with a strain of his right bursa sac while Lester pitched as ineffectively as he did during his dismal 2012 season, the worst year of his career.

But both are back looking strong and pitching very well at the perfect time ... with the Red Sox furiously driving into the playoffs full steam ahead.

Lester earned the win Saturday against the Yankees here at Fenway Park. Buchholz, who returned from the disabled list last week, earned the victory here yesterday to cap a sweep of New York.

The Red Sox won 9-2 last night behind Buchholz’s 6.0 strong innings. The dominant righty allowed just one run, which was unearned, on two hits and four walks while striking out three.

Buchholz has allowed just one run, no earned runs, in 11.0 innings (two starts) since returning from the DL. How can a pitcher immediately be so sharp after missing three months?

When asked if he was surprised by Buchholz’s sharpness with all his pitches so far, Ross said, “I think there was just that mystery of having that much time off. I don’t know if I was surprised. It was just more the unknown.”

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