Jon Lester Looks to Continue Sterling May in Sunday Matinee

Jon Lester Looks to Continue Sterling May in Sunday Matinee Jon Lester will look to take out the Royals as the Red Sox chase their 18th victory of the month.

The Red Sox are currently 17-11, with the Yankees and Rays both with one less loss apiece for best record in the month of May.

With the Red Sox off on Memorial Day, this is their chance to cap off a disappointing April with a strong May.

Lester, one of the best pitchers in the game in the month, will face a Kansas City Royals team that missed a chance at a rare four-game sweep by losing 1-0 on Saturday night to Clay Buchholz. They'll send journeyman Bruce Chen to the mound against Lester, a mismatch on paper. It will be on Lester and the rest of the team to make sure that mismatch shows up on the field.

WHEN AND WHERE

Royals (21-29) at Red Sox (28-23)
Sunday, May 30, 1:35 p.m.
(NESN)
Fenway Park, Boston

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Bruce Chen (1-0, 2.89 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (5-2, 3.15 ERA)

Jon Lester hopes to continue his dominance in May and give the Red Sox a series split against the Royals.

Lester started the season with a 4.71 ERA in April before turning the heat on and going 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA in May. In his sixth start, he will face a team that he has a career 1.20 ERA against in four starts. 

Opposing him will be a fellow left-hander in Bruce Chen, who had a cup of coffee in a Red Sox uniform in 2003. He has bounced around throughout multiple organizations but has found a home the last two years in Kansas City.

Chen was recently called up from the minor leagues to help a beleaguered bullpen, but will move into the rotation after Gil Meche hit the disabled list on Saturday. Against the Red Sox, he has a career 4.84 ERA in 44 2/3 innings and last saw them July 12, 2009 when he lasted three innings in a start. He gave up six hits, three walks and three runs in a losing effort.

LINEUPS

Willie Bloomquist, LF
Mike
Aviles, 2B
David DeJesus, RF
Billy Butler, 1B
Jose Guillen, DH
Alberto
Callaspo, 3B
Brayan Pena, C
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Mitch Maier, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Darnell McDonald, LF
David
Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Bill Hall, 2B
Mike Cameron, CF

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • The Red Sox recorded their first shutout of 2010 at Fenway Park. The last time a shutout at Fenway Park happened, Boston was closing the season out against the Cleveland Indians on Oct. 1, 2009.
  • Adrian Beltre recorded his 37th hit of the month Saturday night, the most he has ever collected in May. The mark ties August 2007 for the third-most hits in a month for his career. August 2004 (42) and August 2000 (39) are the only other months he has outdone May 2010.
  • The last four home wins against the Royals have included three shutouts: 1-0 on June 10, 2009, 6-0 on June 12, 2009 and Saturday night's 1-0 victory.

Royals

  • Zack Greinke knows 1-0 losses. He pitched a complete game loss against Tampa Bay on May 2, falling 1-0. These are the only two 1-0 losses of the season for Kansas City.
  • David DeJesus is batting an obscene .450 (9-for-20) against the Red Sox this season with four doubles and five RBIs. His on-base percentage is too high to contemplate.
  • One more Greinke stat: Only two other pitchers in Royals history have lost a game despite allowing just one run or less over six innings or more: Mark Gubicza (6) and Kevin Appier (5). Greinke has four.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox

  • Jacoby Ellsbury was placed on the disabled list with a
    rib injury on Friday. He played in three games after returning from
    the DL on May 22. He only has nine games on the season to his name after suffering fractured ribs at the hands of an Adrian Beltre knee on April 11.
  • Josh Beckett, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a lower
    back strain, threw a side session on Friday but the team has decided to back off his rehab as the side session did not go as well as anticipated. He will certainly not return June 3 against Oakland as originally hoped.

Royals

  • Gil Meche was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder bursitis on Saturday, the second time he has hit the DL this season with the same injury. He is 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA. Victor Marte took his place in the bullpen, with Bruce Chen sliding to the rotation.
  • Center fielder Rick Ankiel is on the disabled list with a
    strained right quadriceps.
  • Infielder Josh Fields is on the 60-day DL following right hip
    surgery.

OUTLOOK

It's hard to imagine the Red Sox can lose a matchup with Jon Lester on the mound against Bruce Chen, but the Royals will certainly try. If the Royals can squeak out a win and a 3-1 series victory on the road, it will be a huge boost to the team. The Red Sox, for their part, will look to go into Memorial Day's day off having nipped a possible stumbling block in the bud. They'll then host the Oakland Athletics before heading out on the road for seven games.

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