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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: John Lackey vs. David Price

08.17.11 at 7:35 am ET

The Red Sox and Rays wrap up a three-game series Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park in a matchup of two pitchers headed in opposite directions. Boston starter John Lackey is on a month-long tear while Tampa Bay’s David Price is just 2-4 since June 22

Lackey (11-8, 6.13 ERA) has shown significant improvement since a rocky seven-run outing on July 4, winning each of his last six decisions. One of those wins came against the Rays on July 16, when Lackey allowed three runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings. The outing came during Lackey’s best month of the season, as he went 4-1 with a 4.61 ERA in July.

Despite his noteworthy improvement, Lackey has only recorded one quality start in his last four outings — a three-run, six-hit performance against the Yankees on Aug. 6. In his last start, the right-hander gave up four runs on 10 hits to the Mariners in a 6-4 win. Lackey has been a better pitcher away from home this season, as he’s struggled to a 6.38 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .305 with nine home runs at Fenway Park.

As a team, the Rays are hitting .305 against Lackey, with Reid Brignac leading the pack at .429. Johnny Damon leads the team by far with 66 matchups with the Boston starter, hitting .361 with three doubles and five RBIs. B.J. Upton has managed just five hits in 25 plate appearances against Lackey, but one of those hits is a three-run homer. Matthew Joyce is the only other Ray to take Lackey deep.

Price (10-10, 3.76 ERA) was a solid 8-6 entering the month of July, but a sudden drop in run support has withered his record back down to .500. The Rays have lost six of Price’s last eight starts and have scored one run or fewer in four of those losses. Still, Price dominated the Yankees in his last start, as he held New York to one run on six hits over eight innings in a 5-1 win. The 25-year-old struck out four hitters in that outing, but he’s struggled a bit with his command as of late, walking at least two hitters in each of his last four starts. On Aug. 7 against the A’s, he lasted just 4 2/3 innings while allowing four runs on seven hits, including a home run. Price did have seven strikeouts in that start but walked three hitters as well.

As a team, the Red Sox are hitting .226 vs. Price in 148 combined plate appearances. Darnell McDonald has handled Price well, batting .353 with two home runs in 19 matchups. Marco Scutaro has a team-high 23 plate appearances against the Rays starter, but he’s struggled to a .136 average to go along with five strikeouts. The last time Price pitched against Boston, he got the win on July 15 with six innings of three-run, five-hit ball.

Rays vs. Lackey

Johnny Damon (66 plate appearances): .361 BA/.409 OBP/.410 SLG, 3 doubles, 5 RBIs, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts

B.J. Upton (25): .208/.240/.375, 1 double, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

Evan Longoria (22): .238/.273/.381, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Ben Zobrist (20): .333/.500/.333, 1 RBI, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts

Reid Brignac (14): .429/.429/.500, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Casey Kotchman (14): .286/.286/.286, 3 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Kelly Shoppach (12): .111/.250/.111, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Matthew Joyce (9): 3-for-8, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Sean Rodriguez (6): 2-for-5

Sam Fuld (3): 0-for-3, 2 strikeouts

Red Sox vs. Price

Marco Scutaro (23 plate appearances): .136 BA/.174 OBP/.136 SLG, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (20): .333/.400/.444, 2 doubles, 4 strikeouts

Darnell McDonald (19): .353/.421/.824, 2 home runs, 1 triple, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

David Ortiz (18): .125/.222/.250, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (16): .286/.375/.643, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Jed Lowrie (13): .308/.308/.462, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (10): .222/.300/.667, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 walk

Adrian Gonzalez (10): .125/.300/.250, 1 double, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Carl Crawford (7): 0-for-6, 1 strikeout

Jason Varitek (6): 1-for-6, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (5): 1-for-3, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Mike Aviles (1): 0-for-1, 1 strikeout

Read More: David Price, john lackey, Rays, Red Sox
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