John Lackey will face his former team for the first time when he leads the Red Sox against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
Lackey spent 11 years in the Angels organization and ranks among the franchise leaders in several pitching categories, including fourth in wins with 102.
With a win behind Lackey, the Red Sox would clinch their fourth series win in the last five, the lone losing series being the sweep in Baltimore over the weekend.
Boston has outscored Los Angeles 22-9 in the series thus far. Jon Lester threw eight strong innings in Tuesday’s 5-1 victory.
WHEN AND WHERE
Angels (12-16) vs. Red Sox (13-14) Friday, May 5, 7 p.m. (NESN) Fenway Park, Boston
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sox are 22-12 at home against the Angels since May 18, 2003.
RHP Joel Pineiro (2-3, 5.76 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (2-1, 4.50 ERA)
Lackey, whose .590 career winning percentage with the Angels ranks first among hurlers with at least 750 innings, has had just one rocky start, a stinker against Tampa Bay on Patriots’ Day.
However, he is 2-0 with a 2.36 ERA in his other four outings.
Pineiro, who pitched in 31 games out of the bullpen for the Red Sox in 2007, is one of a handful of Angels pitchers to disappoint out of the gate.
In a 10-6 loss to Detroit in his last start, Pineiro gave up 10 runs — nine earned — in just 3 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .320 against him.
Pineiro is 3-5 with a 6.24 ERA against Boston.
Erick Aybar, SS Bobby Abreu, RF Torii Hunter, CF Kendry Morales, 1B Hideki Matsui, LF Maicer Izturis, DH Howie Kendrick, 2B Mike Napoli, C Brandon Wood, 3B
Marco Scutaro, SS Dustin Pedroia, 2B Victor Martinez, C Kevin Youkilis, 1B J.D. Drew, RF David Ortiz, DH Adrian Beltre, 3B Jeremy Hermida, LF Bill Hall, CF
Mike Lowell is 5-for-5 with four doubles, five RBIs, two runs scored and a walk in the series.
Boston has taken the lead in the seventh inning of later in seven of its 13 wins.
J.D. Drew is 18-for-48 (.375) with four homers and 15 RBIs in his last 12 games.
Mike Napoli went 3-for-3 on Tuesday to become the first Angels catcher to have three hits in a game at Fenway Park since Jorge Fabregas went 3-for-4 on Aug. 18, 1996.
L.A.’s 0-5 road trip is their worst start to a begin a swing since it lost the first five games after the All-Star break in 2003.
Ervin Santana has not factored in a decision in his last four starts against the Sox, despite posting a 2.84 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings.
BLACK AND BLUE
Left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury took swings in the batting cage for the first time Tuesday as he continues to recover from rib/chest injuries. Ellsbury has been eligible to return from the DL since April 27.
Center fielder Mike Cameron, out with a sports hernia, has continued to increase the intensity of his workouts. Manager Terry Francona said a plan may be put in place by the end of the week for Cameron to return.
Righty Boof Bonser will throw a side session Wednesday and is expected to make a start in the minors Friday. Bonser struggled to get loose before a start for Triple-A Pawtucket on April 13 and was brought to Boston for tests. He was cleared to resume throwing and recently tossed three simulated innings.
Catcher Jeff Mathis is expected back in June from a fractured right wrist.
Catcher Bobby Wilson went on the disabled list April 24 with a concussion and sprained ankle after a violent collision at home plate.
A .500 record is within sight again for the Red Sox, who have to like their chances against the reeling Angels.
So long as John Lackey has no emotional issues facing his former teammates, and to hear him talk, that is the last thing that will occur, Boston is in great shape to take its third straight.
Not only does L.A. have a struggling starter on the mound, but its bullpen has been downright horrific. Once the Sox knocked starter Ervin Santana out of the game Tuesday, it was lights out. Look for them to work Joel Pineiro from the start.