It turns out all Jon Lester needed to convince the still incredulous Oakland Athletics’ fans that trading for him was well worth parting with fan favorite, back to back Home Run Derby Champion Yoenis Cespedes was 122 pitches.
By the ninth inning the crowd of 22, 108 on hand at O.Co Coliseum, and likely many A’s fans at home, were chanting his name and they should have been. Lester was perfect through five innings until Minnesota Twins’ catcher Kurt Suzuki hit a single just over the head of shortstop Eric Sogard to lead off the sixth.
He had allowed just two hits since and was about to shutout the Twins on a night where the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were down 6-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. As chants of his name reverberated throughout the Coliseum Lester threw his 122nd pitch of the night to strike out Josh Willingham to end the game. It must have felt good to be appreciated.
The biggest thing is to feel welcome,” he said. “We all know what Cespedes did for this organization and how well he was liked. Speaking for myself coming over here, you just don’t want to screw that up. You want to make the trade look like it had a purpose and it was good.”
With that the A’s got their league leading 70th win of the season and, with the Angels eventual loss to the Dodgers by a score of 7-0, a little breathing room in the American League West. They now lead the Angels by three games, their biggest lead in the A.L. West since July 24.
To top off all of that it was manger Bob Melvin’s 800th career managerial win.
If you have been on social media and follow baseball at all you’ve probably seen that the trade that brought Lester to Oakland had been a somewhat polarizing one for a lot of the Oakland fans.
Some worshiped A’s general manager Billy Beane for bringing on Lester to lead their three other aces in Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray, while others were absolutely horrified at the thought of losing Cespedes. Here’s a perfect example via Twitter.
My dad is worried about losing Cespedes and the threat of Kirk Gibson lol #Athletics