Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jon Lester has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending September 14th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Lester's second career weekly honor comes after posting a 2-0 record in a pair of starts with a 1.29 ERA. The left-hander added 15 strikeouts over 14.0 innings to help Oakland maintain a 1.5-game lead for the top spot in the AL Wild Card race. Lester last won a Player of the Week Award for the period ending May 26, 2008 while with Boston, and he becomes the first A's hurler to win since Gio Gonzalez on July 5, 2011. Brandon Moss is the only other Oakland winner this season, having won for the week ending May 18th. Lester finished tied for first in the league in victories, was second in strikeouts and was tied for second in innings pitched.
In his first trip to the bump on Tuesday, the 30-year-old tossed 8.0 effective innings en route to an 11-2 win over the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Jon allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out five over 107 pitches as the Washington State native won his first decision since August 12th and his fourth since coming to Oakland via trade on July 31st. The win snapped a brief two-game slide for the A's. On Sunday, the former second round draft pick (by Boston in 2002) hurled 6.0 shutout innings, scattering four hits with seven strikeouts as Oakland took the rubber-match of a three-game set against the division-rival Seattle Mariners with a 4-0 win at Safeco Field. The triumph enabled Oakland to increase their lead in the Wild Card standings to 1.5 games, while the loss kept Seattle a game behind the Kansas City Royals for the second Wild Card spot. Lester's second win of the week gives the three-time All-Star 15 on the season, a plateau that Jon has now met on six occasions in his nine-year career. He also passed the 200.0-inning threshold for the sixth time in his last seven campaigns.
Heading into play today, Lester is 15-10 with a 2.45 ERA and 206 strikeouts over 205.2 innings in a combined 30 starts between Boston and Oakland. He ranks third in the AL in ERA; is tied for third in wins; is fifth in innings and strikeouts; and is seventh with 9.05 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched. Since arriving in Oakland, Lester is 5-3 with a 2.30 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 62.2 innings over nine starts.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Boston's Xander Bogaerts (.379, 3 HR, 6 RBI); the Angels' Kole Calhoun (.345, 3 HR, 7 RBI) and Mike Trout (.400, 6 XBH, 10 R); Baltimore's Alejandro De Aza (.345, 5 XBH, 6 RBI); Toronto's Adam Lind (.400, 5 XBH, 7 RBI) and Marcus Stroman (SHO vs. CHC on 9/8); and Chris Young (.385, 4 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI) of the New York Yankees.
In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Jon Lester will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.