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Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Jon Lester vs. Henderson Alvarez

07.22.12 at 8:00 am ET
By

Jon Lester

The Red Sox will finish up their seven-game homestand on Sunday as they send Jon Lester to the mound vs. the Blue Jays.

Lester has struggled this season with a 5-7 record and a meager 4.80 ERA. However, he’s been able to give the Sox decent innings, eclipsing the six-inning mark in 11 of his 19 starts. He had his best month of the year in June, when he was 2-1 with a 4.01 ERA, but he hasn’t been able to improve on that this month, with his ERA staying above 4.00 since May 25.

The lefty’s struggles continued in his last outing, when he allowed six runs on seven hits in only four innings against the White Sox on July 17. He left the game in the fourth inning after only throwing 91 pitches.

The 28-year-old has great career numbers vs. the Blue Jays, with an 11-5 record and a 3.20 ERA in 20 starts. He’s 1-1 this season against the AL East rivals. He got the victory against Toronto after going seven innings and allowing four runs on June 27.

On the mound for the Blue Jays will be Henderson Alvarez, a second-year starter from Venezuela.

Alvarez, like Lester, is 5-7, but he has a better ERA at 4.29. He started off the season with a quality April and May, with his ERA on May 15 at an impressive 2.62. But after a brutal June in which his ERA was 5.20, Alvarez’s ERA has evened out. He has eclipsed 100 pitches in five of his 18 starts.

The Venezuelan had a solid start against the Yankees on July 16, going six innings and allowing only two runs, but he could not get the decision as the bullpen let up four runs in a 6-3 loss. His 105 pitches marked his second-highest pitch count of the season.

The 22-year-old is 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox in his career, including three starts this season in which he’s 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA. Since Alvarez is only in his second year, the Red Sox lineup is still figuring him out as only two batters have more than 10 at-bats vs. him. Ryan Sweeney has had success against Alvarez, going 4-for-10.

Blue Jays vs. Lester (LHP)

Yunel Escobar (26 plate appearances): .273 BA/.346 OBP/.273 SLG, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Adam Lind (25): .125/.160/.167, 1 double, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts

J.P. Arencibia (22): .200/.273/.350, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts

Edwin Encarnacion (22): .150/.227/.350, 1 double, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Rajai Davis (20): .158/.200/.368, 2 triples, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

Kelly Johnson (10): .000/.200/.000, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Brett Lawrie (10): .111/.200/.222, 1 double, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jeff Mathis (9): .222/.222/.333, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Travis Snider (8): .000/.000/.000, 5 strikeouts

Omar Vizquel (6): .400/.500/.400, 1 walk

Colby Rasmus (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Red Sox vs. Alvarez

Adrian Gonzalez (11 plate apperances): .300 BA/.364 OBP/.400 SLG, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Ryan Sweeney (11): .400/.455/.700, 3 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk

Dustin Pedroia (9): .333/.333/.889, 1 triple, 1 home run, 1 RBI

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (8): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Jacoby Ellsbury (6): .167/.167/.333, 1 double

Daniel Nava (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Mike Aviles (5): .200/.200/.200, 2 strikeouts

Will Middlebrooks (5): .000/.000/.000

Nick Punto (4): .000/.000/.000

Cody Ross (4): .500/.500/.750, 1 double

Carl Crawford (2): .000/.500/.000, 1 walk

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