BOSTON -- The Red Sox started their season with Jon Lester on the mound back on April 1. So perhaps it's only fitting that the lefty also opens the second season -- the one everyone will be watching.
Manager John Farrell has tabbed Lester to open Friday's Game 1 of the American League Division Series at 3 p.m. ET on TBS against either the Cleveland Indians or Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.
When you combine Lester's experience in October and the way he has pitched down the stretch, the decision was a no-brainer for Farrell. In his 13 starts since the All-Star break, Lester is 7-2 with a 2.57 ERA.
"It's probably been assumed by many that he would go Game 1 for us, and he'll do just that," said Farrell. "He's been outstanding in the second half, and the last eight starts that he's put together for us, he's been very strong, and he'll lead the way for us from a starting standpoint."
John Lackey, who has pitched far better at Fenway this season (6-3, 2.47 ERA) than on the road (4-10, 4.48 ERA), gets the nod in Saturday's Game 2.
Clay Buchholz, who put up glittering numbers in his abbreviated season, will pitch Monday's Game 3 on the road.
"I'll pitch whenever they want me to," said Buchholz. "It's the first game on the road. The last couple of years, I've felt comfortable on the road. Obviously I'd like to pitch in front of the fans here, but you've got to win in both places anyway. Hopefully we can do well in these first two games here and take it from there."
Jake Peavy, the bulldog righty who was acquired just prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Ddeadline, starts Game 4 if necessary.
Honored and excited about getting the nod for Game 1. Is it Friday yet? LETS GO!!!!! #NVRQT- Jon Lester (@JLester31) October 2, 2013
"I think the rotation couldn't set up any better than the way it sets up," said Peavy. "Jonny Lester's been a horse here all year. He made every one of his starts, he led this team in innings, he pitched as well as anyone in the second half in baseball really. He deserves to be the guy going out there. And I think Lack right behind him, I think that the way that things are shaking out to set up is the right way."