Jon Lester Looks to Return to Ace Form as Sox Take on Blue Jays in Final Game of Homestand


Jon Lester Looks to Return to Ace Form as Sox Take on Blue Jays in Final Game of HomestandThis latest homestand has been good to the Red Sox — Boston has gone 6-2 to plant itself above .500 as the All-Star break approaches.

But one more win would give the Sox a series sweep and do wonders for their confidence heading into their West Coast trip.

Jon Lester (4-5, 4.48 ERA) is the go-to man on the mound. Lester has been up and down this season, but he’s strung together five straight starts of six innings pitched or more. He’s also been striking out opposing batters at a decent clip, with 34 strikeouts over his last 33.1 innings. Lester had a good outing against the Jays the last time he faced them, in Toronto on April 11, and he’ll look to build on that eight-inning, six-strikeout performance and get the win this time.

Lester’s counterpart, Ricky Romero, may make things harder for the Red Sox lineup. Romero has been key for Toronto recently, winning five in a row, and he was also opposite Lester the last time he faced Boston, also on April 11. After going 8 1/3 innings and allowing just one run then, the Sox will need to pressure Romero early to derail his recent success.

Manager Bobby Valentine is sending out the big guns of the lineup to get it done. Daniel Nava will lead off, with Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz right behind. Cody Ross takes the cleanup spot for another day, and Adrian Gonzalez will see what he can do from the No. 5 spot.

Darnell McDonald is getting the start in center field, and Kelly Shoppach will catch Lester.

Here are the complete lineups for Wednesday afternoon’s game.

Red Sox (39-35)

Daniel Nava LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Cody Ross RF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Mike Aviles SS
Darnell McDonald CF
Kelly Shoppach C

Jon Lester P

Blue Jays (38-36)

Brett Lawrie 3B
Colby Rasmus CF
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Ben Francisco DH
Yunel Escobar SS
Rajai Davis LF
J.P. Arencibia 2
Omar Vizquel 2B

Ricky Romero P

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