|Thursday’s Red Sox-Indians matchups: Josh Beckett vs. Derek Lowe||05.10.12 at 10:07 am ET|
Following a short three-game road trip to Kansas City, the Red Sox return home to Fenway Park Thursday night for a six-game homestand that begins with a four-game series against the Indians. It’ll be a return to Boston not only for the Red Sox, but for opposing starting pitcher Derek Lowe, who was a member of the Red Sox from 1997-2004. He will start opposite Josh Beckett, who will try to help the Red Sox snap their five-game losing streak at home.
Beckett returns to the hill Thursday night after missing his last start due to a strained lat muscle. Since a rough start to the year, the right-hander has been steadily improving toward his 2011 All-Star form. In Beckett’s first start of the year on April 7, the Tigers blasted him for seven runs and five home runs, chasing him after 4 2/3 innings in a 10-0 rout. But since then, Beckett has calmed down, allowing no more than three runs in a game, and he sits at 2-3 with a 4.45 ERA.
His last start came on April 29, when he lost a decision against the White Sox. He gave up three runs in the first inning of that game but settled down and shut out Chicago for the rest of his outing. He finished with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings, but the effort wasn’t enough as the Red Sox fell, 4-1. In his career against the Indians, Beckett is 4-5 with a 4.84 ERA. He went 1-1 in three starts against them in 2011. His last time out against Cleveland took place on Aug. 2, 2011, when he pitched six innings and gave up two runs in a seven-strikeout performance. Current Indians hitters are batting a combined .272 against Beckett.
Lowe will return to the confines of Fenway Park for the second time since leaving the Sox after the 2004 season. He began his career with the Red Sox as a closer before shifting into a starting role. In his eight years with the team, he amassed a 70-55 record, 85 saves and a 3.72 ERA. He had arguably his best season with the club in 2002, when he went 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA, which earned him third place in Cy Young voting. But what Lowe may be best known for among Red Sox Nation was his hand in the Red Sox’ World Series championship in 2004, when he won the final game in each of the team’s series as he helped the Red Sox end their 86-year championship drought.
After bouncing around the National League between the Dodgers and Braves since his exit from the Red Sox, Lowe landed in Cleveland this season, and he’s rebounding well from a disastrous 9-17 season with the Braves last season with a strong start in 2012. In six starts, the 39-year-old right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.39 ERA. He’s 2-0 in his last three starts and received a no-decision in his last time out on May 5, when he went six innings and gave up two runs on nine hits in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers.
On June 20, 2009, Lowe made his first and only visit to Fenway Park as a member of an opposing team. Starting for the Braves, Lowe pitched 6 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on seven hits as the Red Sox got the best of him and won, 3-0.
Indians vs. Beckett (RHP)
Johnny Damon (62 plate appearances): .263 BA/.311 OBP/.456 SLG, 5 doubles, 2 home runs, 9 RBIs, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
Casey Kotchman (25): .280/.280/.400, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 4 strikeouts
Travis Hafner (24): .350/.458/.700, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 6 RBIs, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts
Asdrubal Cabrera (19): .313/.421/.500, 3 doubles, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Shin-Soo Choo (18): .313/.389/.500, 1 home run, 6 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Michael Brantley (12): .300/.417/.400, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Carlos Santana (9): .000/.111/.000, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Jack Hannahan (8): .125/.125/.125, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts
Lou Marson (5): .400/.400/1.200, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Shelley Duncan (3): .000/.333/.000, 2 strikeouts
Jason Kipnis (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Red Sox vs. Lowe (RHP)
Adrian Gonzalez (24 plate appearances): .304 BA/.333 OBP/.522 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Cody Ross (13): .300/.462/.400, 1 double, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
Nick Punto (12): .273/.333/.455, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
David Ortiz (7): .286/.286/.429, 1 double
Marlon Byrd (6): .167/.167/.667, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 3 strikeouts
Andrew Miller (5): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts
Mike Aviles (3): .333/.333/.333
Dustin Pedroia (3): .000/.000/.000
Darnell McDonald (2): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
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