Red Sox starters are 8-1 in the last nine games with an ERA of 0.88. Opponents are hitting a minuscule .159 over that span, lowering the staff’s ERA from 7.24 to 3.84.
On Saturday, Matsuzaka pitched eight shutout innings and allowed only one hit while striking out nine. Lackey followed up on Sunday by pitching eight shutout innings of his own while striking out six.
The Sox will get the day off on Monday as they travel to Baltimore for a three-game set with the Orioles, but Clay Buchholz will grab the ball in the series opener.
Buchholz went 5 1/3 innings in his last start at Oakland on Wednesday, and allowed one run on six hits while picking up the win.
The 26-year-old has been outstanding against the Orioles in his career, compiling a 5-2 record, including his 2007 no-hitter. In his last four starts against the O’s, Buchholz has been really exceptional. He is 3-0 with a 0.32 ERA, and O’s hitters are only hitting .175 against the right-hander in those starts.
Buchholz will take on 23-year-old rookie Zach Britton on Tuesday before Josh Beckett faces off against Jeremy Guthrie on Wednesday.
Beckett has allowed only three runs over his last three starts — a span of 23 innings. He has struck out 24 in those three starts and has lowered his season ERA to 1.93, showing once again how dominant he can be when things are going his way.
Beckett is 6-3 with a 3.53 ERA in 14 career starts against the Orioles.
On Thursday, Jon Lester will face Brad Bergesen in the series finale before the team returns home for a weekend series with the Seattle Mariners.
At 0-3, Bergesen is still seeking his first win of the season. Lester, meanwhile, is seeking win No. 3 and is coming off back-to-back solid outings.
On Friday, he threw six shutout innings against the Angels, striking out eight while only walking two.
There’s no reason not to expect more of the same from Lester when he takes the mound against the O’s. He has completely dominated them throughout his career, pitching better against them than any other team in the majors.
In 16 career starts against the Orioles, Lester is 13-0 with a 2.33 ERA. This will mark his first start against Baltimore in 2011.
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