The decision was made late Tuesday after the Celtics lost Game 6 and the Sox took the opener with the D-Backs in an extremely subdued Fenway Park that was surrounded by closed roads prepared for an onslaught of exuberant fans.
When the early start time hits, Boston will be aiming for a three-game sweep. The Sox improved to 4-1 on their current homestand and 6-2 in interleague play with a 6-2 win over the D-Backs on Wednesday.John Lackey and Dan Haren go in the finale, pitting a pair of quality right-handers who battled before during their respective days in the American League West.
WHEN AND WHEREDiamondbacks (26-40) at Red Sox (39-28)
Thursday, June 17, 6:10 p.m.
Fenway Park, Boston
HEAD TO HEADThe Sox are 6-5 all-time against the Diamondbacks.
PITCHING MATCHUPRHP Dan Haren (7-4, 4.61 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (7-3, 4.54 ERA) With an early start and a host of players, coaches and fans itching for a quick one, both clubs throw out two guys who can make it work.
Lackey, noted as an extremely fast worker, has allowed two runs in seven innings in both of his last two starts. Overall, he is 3-0 with a 3.42 ERA in his last four outings. The 31-year-old Lackey allowed just one unearned run and struck out nine in his only prior start against Arizona.
Haren struggled through May, sporting a 6.08 ERA, but has turned things around this month. Through three June starts, the tall righty is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA, striking out 21 and walking just two in 21 2/3 innings. Haren is just 2-3 in six career starts vs. Boston, but has a 2.65 ERA.
|Kelly Johnson, 2B |
Stephen Drew, SS
Justin Upton, RF
Miguel Montero, C
Chris Young, CF
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Gerardo Parra, LF
Rusty Ryal, DH
|Marco Scutaro, SS|
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Oriz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Victor Martinez, C
J.D. Drew, RF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Daniel Nava, LF
Darnel McDonald, CF
STAT SHEETRed Sox
- Boston has won or split each of its last 10 series.
- Jon Lester on Wednesday became the eighth lefty in team history to win his first 50 games with the club.
- Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is 12-for-24 (.500) with four doubles, one home run and six RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.
- Right fielder Justin Upton is batting .458 (11-for-24) in his last six interleague games.
- Arizona has lost 12 straight on the road, a club record.
- The D-Backs remain four wins shy of 1,000 as a franchise.
BLACK AND BLUERed Sox
- Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a right forearm strain. He has begun to play catch and may throw a side session Thursday.
- Outfielder Jeremy Hermida was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday after an MRI revealed five fractured ribs, the result of a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre one week earlier.
- An MRI conducted last Wednesday revealed a new fracture in outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s ribs. Ellsbury, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 28 for the second time this year, went to the Athletes’ Performance center in Arizona last week for at least two weeks of rest and recovery.
- Josh Beckett threw long toss again Wednesday. He is expected to have one more day of throwing before taking a day off. Beckett remains on the DL with a lower back strain.
- Infielder Jed Lowrie continues to try to work back from mononucleosis.
- Former Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb remains on the 60-day DL after right shoulder surgery last summer. He threw off a mound earlier in the week and plans to do so again Wednesday.
- Right-hander Kris Benson is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Reno as he works his way back from a right shoulder strain.
Expect some quick pitching, first-pitch swinging and a heavy dose of “Beat L.A.” chants at Fenway Park, where baseball may be secondary for once.
That’s not to say that the Lackey-Haren matchup isn’t something to see. The two former AL West rivals are beginning to find their groove and figure to provide a quality duel in the series finale.