Jon Lester Makes Third Attempt for First Victory of Season Against Rays

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Jon Lester Makes Third Attempt for First Victory of Season Against Rays Jon Lester Makes Third Attempt for First Victory of Season Against RaysRain may still be in the area when the Red Sox host the Tampa Bay Rays in the third game of a four-game set. Boston hopes its shoddy play is not.

The Sox dropped two games to the Rays on Saturday at Fenway, losing the end of a suspended game 3-1 in 12 innings, and the nightcap 6-5.

They committed three errors and had two other serious misplays in the two games, and failed time and time again to get the big hit with runners on.

Boston has lost three straight and seven of its last 10. It will turn to Jon Lester, who is still searching for his first win in 2010.

Matt Garza is on the mound for Tampa Bay.

WHEN AND WHERE

Rays (8-3) vs. Red Sox (4-7)
Sunday, April 17, 1:35 p.m. (NESN)
Fenway Park, Boston

HEAD TO HEAD

With the two losses Saturday, Boston falls to 74-30 all-time at home against Tampa Bay.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Matt Garza (2-0, 1.13 ERA) vs. LHP Jon Lester (0-0, 7.20 ERA)

The talk surrounding Lester thus far is his continued struggles early in the season. He is 2-5 with a 5.08 ERA in 14 career starts during April and March.

The lefty is 40-12 with a 3.50 mark in all other months, but he won’t be there for a few more starts. He is 6-2 lifetime against the Rays.

Garza has dominated early on and has made a living as a Red Sox killer. The 26-year-old, who has lasted eight innings in both of his first two starts, is 5-2 with a 3.23 mark against Boston.

LINEUPS

Rays Red Sox
SS Jason Bartlett
LF Carl Crawford
2B Ben Zobrist
3B Evan Longoria
1B Carlos Pena
CF B.J. Upton
DH Willy Aybar
C Dioner Navarro
RF Gabe Kapler
SS Marco Scutaro
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH Victor Martinez
1B Kevin Youkilis
RF J.D. Drew
3B Adrian Beltre
LF Jeremy Hermida
C Jason Varitek
CF Mike Cameron

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • Designated hitter David Ortiz has doubled in four straight games and five of his last six.
  • In dropping the first of the two games Saturday, the Sox lost a suspended game for the first time since July 27, 1994 against the Yankees. It was the first loss in a suspended game at Fenway Park since Sept. 3, 1981, a 20-inning setback to Seattle.
  • Second baseman Dustin Pedroia has reached safely in all 11 of his games and 17 straight dating to last season.

Rays

  • Designated hitter Pat Burrell had five RBIs in two separate games in about an hour Saturday. His two-run homer was the go-ahead hit in the 12th inning of the suspended game and he had a three-run double in the top of the first in the originally scheduled contest.
  • Left fielder Carl Crawford had one steal Saturday, running his streak of successful attempts against Boston to 29. He now ranks third on the all-time list for steals against the Sox behind only Rickey Henderson and Bert Campaneris.
  • Shortstop Jason Bartlett is 0-for-10 in the series.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox

  • Jacoby Ellsbury took some swings and threw the ball Saturday afternoon. Both he and manager Terry Francona said he could return from a bruised rib by the middle of the week.
  • Mike Cameron returned Saturday from a layoff to recover from a kidney stone.
  • Boof Bonser‘s shoulder stiffness was nothing more than that. He will be sent back to Pawtucket once the stiffness subsides.
  • As of Friday there had been no progress made by Jed Lowrie, on the 60-day disabled list with mononucleosis.

Rays

  • Catcher Kelly Shoppach is on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 11 with a sprained right knee. He was sent to Florida for more tests and manager Joe Maddon said there is a chance he could be on the shelf a little longer.
  • Outfielder Matt Joyce had a setback on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham. He is on the DL with a right elbow strain but is also heading to Florida to seek treatment.

OUTLOOK

There was a tinge of frustration in the Red Sox clubhouse after Saturday’s setbacks. It appears the poor play of the past few days reached a boiling point.

Expect a more focused group behind Lester, who, like several other players on the team, needs to find his form soon with Boston already slipping well behind others in the American League East.

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