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Red Sox vs. Indians Preview 10/1

10.01.09 at 10:18 am ET
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The most recent pitch Jon Lester threw was turned around by Yankee Melky Cabrera and lined directly into the left-hander’s right knee. Now, six losses and an AL wild card berth later, the Red Sox welcome the return of Lester to the mound to square off in the first of a four-game set against the Cleveland Indians.

After being swept for a second straight series, culminating with a three-hit shutout by Toronto’s Roy Halladay in a 12-0 pounding, the Red Sox (91-67) look to end the regular season on a high note as they open their final series tonight at Fenway against the Indians (65-93).

David Ortiz and Alex Gonzalez were the only regulars manager Terry Francona inserted into the lineup last night, as the Sox lost for the eighth time in 10 games. Sox starting pitchers have not earned a win since Clay Buchholz won last Thursday in Kansas City.

Nearly unbeatable since the All-Star break, Lester (14-8, 3.52) was batted around last Friday in the Bronx for his first loss since July 19. Before limping off the field in the third inning against the Yankees, Lester was shelled. His final line: five runs on eight hits and three walks in the 9-5 defeat.

Guaranteeing that he would not miss his turn in the rotation, Lester prepares for his final regular-season outing tonight. In his five previous starts vs. the Indians, the left-hander has yet to lose a decision, going 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA. In his lone start this year opposing Cleveland, Lester scattered five runs in six innings on seven hits and three walks, ultimately winding up with a no-decision.

One day after firing manger Eric Wedge, the Indians send rookie Carlos Carrasco to make only the fifth start of his career. Still searching for his first major league win, Carrasco has struggled in his time in the majors with an 0-3 record and a hefty 9.00 ERA.

Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Phillies in 2003, Carrasco was part of the deal that sent 2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to Philadelphia on July 29. After compiling a 5-1 record with a 3.19 ERA in Triple A this year, Carrasco was recalled from Columbus on Sept. 1 to make his major league debut against the Tigers. Lasting only three innings, the 22-year-old yielded six runs on nine hits, three of which were home runs.

Looking to audition for a spot as a starter next season, Carrasco takes on the Red Sox for the first time in his career, in only his second road start. Just a half-game ahead of the Royals in the AL Central, the Indians will try to avoid finishing their disappointing season in the basement as they hand the ball over to the rookie.

Jon Lester vs. Indians batters

Jhonny Peralta (15 career plate appearances) .154 AVG, .267 OBP, .152 SLG, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Grady Sizemore (15) .182, .400, .636, 1 home run, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Travis Hafner (11) .300, .273, .300, 1 strikeout

Kelly Shoppach (9) .429, .556, 1.000, 1 home run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Asdrubal Cabrera (6) .333, .500, .333, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Jamey Carroll (3) 1-for-3

Shin-Soo Choo (3) 0-for-2, 1 strikeout

Andy Marte (2) 0-for-2

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