The pride of Tacoma, Jon Lester, will scale the Safeco Field mound tonight backed by an offense that leads baseball in wOBA this season, and has the Boston Red Sox in first place in the American League East.
After a disastrous 2012 season under Bobby Valentine, first-year manager and former pitching coach John Farrell has this cast of Sox clicking pretty well. He's done it with the usual suspects -- David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury -- but the team has also got big contributions from the unlikely in Jose Iglesias and Mike Carp.
The asterisks about platooning, park effects and all that can be added all we want, but come on. Raise your hand if you had Carp pegged for .306/.366/.628 triple slash though 48 games. It's going to be a story ROOT Sports will smear in our faces this week in between views of the umpire's posterior during high-leverage pitches, but there really can't be a person on this planet who saw that much production coming from the former Mariners 1B/DH/OF. Right?
Carp's BABIP All-Star co-captain, Iglasias, is the front-runner to run away with the American League Rookie of the Year Award. There's a whole half a season to see how far that .447 BABIP regresses, but right now the kid is hitting everything thrown at him. Nick Franklin, Yan Gomes or Leonys Martin could steadily chip away if that happens, but playing for a division leading Boston will be tough to top.
Felix will get one more start after tonight before the All-Star game, which means he'll be on a pretty normal schedule to throw an inning in the exhibition. Hisashi Iwakuma would then be pitching Sunday, so unless something has changed with those rules, I guess he'll just be there to nod his head and give out hugs and such.
...wait for it...