David Ortiz Batting Cleanup Despite Sore Oblique Muscle As Jon Lester, David Price Square Off in Tampa Bay


David OrtizA Jon LesterDavid Price matchup looks good on paper, but other evidence suggests that Wednesday night’s Red Sox-Rays matchup could favor the hitters.

Lester and Price both allowed just one earned run and received no-decisions the last time they met, in a 10-inning game the Red Sox won 2-1 on April 13. Since then, Lester has had his up and downs, and although he one-hit the Blue Jays on Friday night, he is just 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA in his 23 career starts against the Rays, including an 0-4 mark with a 6.11 ERA in his last five appearances against them. Price is 8-4 with a 2.99 ERA against the Red Sox in his career, but he’s had an inconsistent season so far.

This could be just the opening the hitters are looking for. While the Rays’ bats have struggled all season, the Red Sox’ offense was strong during the team’s 20-8 start. Boston will aim to get back on track Wednesday night after a team-wide slump.

Two hitters who have been able to get to Price are Mike Napoli (.300) and Dustin Pedroia (.303). Pedroia has a six-game hitting streak going, and his 13-for-24 mark in that span (.542) has boosted his average to .338, fourth-highest in the American League.

The Red Sox will also have their designated hitter in place despite David Ortiz revealing Tuesday that he’s been playing with a sore oblique muscle. He hit a first-inning home run in Tuesday night’s loss.

Ultimately, though, this one will be on the pitchers. Lester has gone 3-0 this season with a 1.82 ERA in the five games he’s started following a Red Sox loss, and he’ll be aiming to continue that streak Wednesday night.

Here are the lineups for the Red Sox and Rays.

Boston Red Sox (22-17)

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS

Jon Lester, LHP

Tampa Bay Rays (20-18)

Desmond Jennings, CF
Kelly Johnson, DH
Ben Zobrist, RF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Yunel Escobar, SS
James Loney, 1B
Sean Rodriguez, LF
Jose Molina, C
Ryan Roberts, 2B

David Price, LHP

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