John Lackey Takes Mound As Red Sox Look to Hold on to Division Lead Against Struggling Orioles

Lackey 7John Lackey was in line to start Thursday’s contest against the Tampa Bay Rays, but after that game was washed out, Lackey will now take the hill Friday in the series opener against the Orioles.

The Red Sox have dropped five of their last eight games, hitting just .225 during the skid. Dustin Pedroia, who will bat third in the lineup, has struggled as of late, notching just one hit in his previous 15 at-bats.

David Ortiz will follow Pedroia in the order, but he hasn’t fared well against the Orioles in 2013, hitting just .125.

Daniel Nava will get the start in left field and hit sixth in the lineup behind Mike Napoli. Perhaps the Sox can lean on Napoli to get the bats hot, as the first baseman has hit safely in seven of his last 15 at-bats, including a two-home run, four-RBI performance against the Yankees on July 21.

Lackey will be tasked with slowing down the bats of Baltimore’s Manny MachadoChris Davis and Matt Weiters. Machado is 14-for-32 (.438) this year against the Red Sox, hitting safely in all seven meetings. Davis, the league leader in home runs, has not homered since the All-Star break but is seven for his last 10 against Boston. Weiters is on a hot streak of his own, recording five straight multi-hit games for the Orioles.

Check out the lineups for both teams below.

Boston Red Sox (61-42)

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Jose Iglesias, 3B

John Lackey, RHP

Baltimore Orioles (57-46)

Nate McLouth, LF
Manny Machado, 3B
Nick Markakis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Chris Davis, 1B
Matt Wieters, C
JJ Hardy, SS
Henry Urrutia, DH
Brian Roberts,,2B

Chris Tillman, RHP

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