It is the last of seven straight games on the road for Boston, which returns home to host three straight NL teams starting Friday.
After winning the first two games of the set, the Sox were pounded 11-0 on Wednesday. Former Boston hurler Justin Masterson threw a complete game shutout and the Indians scored eight times in the eighth.
In order to secure another series win, the Sox get to turn to Jon Lester, who is in search of his eighth straight win. Cleveland turns to rookie Mitch Talbot, who leads the team in victories with seven.
WHEN AND WHERE
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sox had won seven straight against the Indians before Wednesday's loss.
LHP Jon Lester (7-2, 2.73 ERA) vs. RHP Mitch Talbot (7-4, 3.54 ERA)
After winning the AL Pitcher of the Month for May, Lester opened June in similar fashion. He yielded four hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings during Saturday's 8-2 win at Baltimore.
It was the fourth win in as many starts for the southpaw, who is one win away from 50 for his career.
Lester is 3-0 with a 3.89 ERA against Cleveland.
Talbot, acquired from Tampa Bay for catcher Kelly Shoppach in December, has been a pleasant surprise for the Indians. He continued a solid start to his rookie campaign by tossing seven strong innings in a 3-1 win over Chicago five days ago.
The righty has just 32 strikeouts against 27 walks in 73 2/3 innings, but has allowed only 68 hits.
In one relief appearance against the Sox two years ago, Talbot gave up home runs to Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury in three innings of work.
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Victor Martinez, C
J.D. Drew, RF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mike Cameron, CF
Bill Hall, LF
Trevor Crowe, CF
- Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia are a combined 0-for-17 in the last two games.
- Boston starters have an ERA of 1.21 through the first six games of the road trip.
- Since scoring six runs in the ninth inning of a win in Baltimore on Saturday, the Sox have scored a total of 10 runs in a span of 38 innings.
- Center fielder Trevor Crowe has seven stolen bases in 25 games.
- The first four hitters in the Cleveland lineup Wednesday drew a combined seven walks.
- Designated hitter Travis Hafner's grand slam Wednesday was his first home run in 15 games.
BLACK AND BLUE
- Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury remains on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his once-fractured ribs. He visited a specialist in California on Wednesday morning in order to rule out anything other than normal soreness in his ribs.
- Josh Beckett's 10-day stretch during which he was not to perform any baseball activities ends around now. He may get a chance to throw Saturday, but that is tentative. Beckett is on the DL with a lower back strain.
- Infielder Jed Lowrie continues to try to work back from mononucleosis.
- Outfielder Grady Sizemore had season-ending knee surgery June 4.
- Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is on the DL with a broken left forearm.
- Right-hander Anthony Reyes is not expected back until after the All-Star break. He had Tommy John surgery last June.
After Wednesday's night's disappointing loss, the guy the Sox would want on the mound is Lester, who is locked in right now. During his four-game winning streak, he has allowed only two runs in 28 1/3 innings.
Time for the big southpaw to serve as the stopper and ensure that one bad setback does not become a losing streak, especially with a big homestand on the horizon.