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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Padres matchups: John Lackey vs. Clayton Richard

06.22.11 at 8:20 am ET

John Lackey and Clayton Richard will take the mound in Wednesday’s series finale between the Red Sox and Padres in a matchup of two pitchers who have had their fair share of struggles this season. While Richard has been more effective statistically, a severe shortage of San Diego run support gives the win-loss edge to Lackey, who’s made some major improvements since his elbow injury.

Lackey (5-5, 7.02 ERA) has shown new life since his return from the DL, recording convincing wins in each of his last three starts. The Red Sox offense provided an average of 10.6 runs in those three games, but Lackey never gave up more than four.

The right-hander struck out eight over six innings in a win against the Blue Jays on June 11, and most recently he went eight innings while surrendering four runs and striking out five against the Brewers. Before being sent to the DL after a 9-3 loss on May 11, Lackey was 2-5 with an 8.01 ERA. Since returning on June 5, he’s 3-0 with an ERA of 5.03.

Lackey doesn’t have much experience against the National League, although he’s seen plenty of Jason Bartlett from his days in Tampa Bay, and Orlando Hudson from his time in Toronto and Minnesota. In 26 career plate appearances, Bartlett is hitting .320 with a double, three triples, and an RBI. Hudson is batting .261 with a triple and three RBI. Lackey has dominated Ryan Ludwick in just six plate appearances, holding him hitless and striking him out three times.

In terms of ERA, Richard (2-9, 4.35 ERA) has pitched consistently better than Lackey this season, but a lack of run support has deflated his record tremendously. In Richard’s nine losses, the Padres have averaged 2.3 runs. The offense provided more than enough run support in his two wins, scoring eight runs on May 16, and 11 runs back on April 2.

The Padres have lost in Richard’s last six starts, although the left-hander has posted a respectable 4.18 ERA this month. However, he was knocked around by the Twins in his last outing, surrendering six runs on 10 hits through five innings. Richard’s current numbers don’t justify his performance in 2010, when he finished 14-9 with a 3.75 ERA.

As for his experience against Boston, the three-year pro hasn’t faced a current Red Sox hitter more than seven times. Mike Cameron leads the way with seven plate appearances, going 2-for-6 with a walk, a double, and a home run. Marco Scutaro has had the most success in just six plate appearances with two walks, two hits, and a home run.

Padres vs. Lackey

Jason Bartlett (26 plate appearances): .320 BA/.346 OBP/.600 SLG, 1 double, 3 triples, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Orlando Hudson (23): .261/.261/.348, 1 triple, 3 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Brad Hawpe (6): 2-for-6, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout

Ryan Ludwick (6): 0-for-5, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Rob Johnson (3): 0-for-2, 1 walk

Red Sox vs. Richard

Mike Cameron (7 plate appearances): 2-for-6, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 walk

Marco Scutaro (6): 2-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 walks

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2): 0-for-2, 1 strikeout

Jacoby Ellsbury (1): 1-for-1

David Ortiz (1): 0-for-1

Dustin Pedroia (1): 0-for-0, walk

Read More: Clayton Richard, john lackey, Padres, Red Sox
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