|Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Jon Lester vs. Brandon Morrow||09.16.12 at 8:51 am ET|
Now in a virtual tie with the Blue Jays for last place in the AL East, the Red Sox will send left-hander Jon Lester to the mound to start the rubber match of the series in Toronto on Sunday.
Lester (9-11, 4.99 ERA) is coming off of a serviceable outing against the Yankees, throwing 5 1/3 innings and giving up three runs. What the 28-year-old certainly will have to avoid repeating, though, was his tortuous outing last time out against the Blue Jays. On July 22, the Jays racked up 11 runs in four innings against. The 11 runs were by far the most Lester has given up all season, and was just one of two occasions Lester has given up more than four runs in a start since May 25.
In an inconsistent season, Lester has been solid when pitching away from the confines of Fenway Park. Over 13 road starts this season, Lester is 6-3 with a 3.34 ERA, giving up more than four runs in just two such games. The one start Lester made at Rogers Centre this season ended with him giving up three runs over eight innings, but he took the complete-game loss, 3-1.
Lester has posted strong career numbers against the Blue Jays, going 11-6 with a 3.32 ERA in 21 starts against them. Against Toronto’s current lineup, Lester has a positive track record, limiting the unit to a .210 batting average against with a .674 OPS against.
After missing his spot in the rotation in the series last week, hard-throwing righty Brandon Morrow takes to the hill for Toronto on Sunday. Morrow, who hasn’t faced the Red Sox yet this season, enters his fifth start since returning from the disabled list from a strained oblique. Morrow has pitched well since his return, save for his most recent outing, when he gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings against Seattle on Sept. 11.
Over the course of his career, Morrow has struggled against the Red Sox. In 15 appearances, including seven starts, Morrow is 1-3 with a 9.32 ERA. His struggles were particularly evident last season, when he went 1-2 with a 12.32 ERA in four starts. His last two starts against Boston came in back-to-back starts in September, neither of which went well as Morrow gave up a combined 13 runs in 9 2/3 innings.
The current Red Sox lineup is batting .396 against him with a collective OPS of 1.327. Save for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is hitless in 10 plate appearances, and newly acquired catcher Guillermo Quiroz, no member of the Red Sox is batting under .333 or has an OPS under 1.000 against Morrow.
Red Sox vs. Morrow (RHP)
Dustin Pedroia (21 plate appearances): .529 BA/.571 OBP/1.118 SLG, 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout
Jacoby Ellsbury (17): .500/.500/1.250, 1 double, 1 triple 3 home runs, 8 RBIs, 1 strikeout
Mike Aviles (6): .400/.500/.800, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 1 walk
Scott Podsednik (4): .500/.750/.500, 2 walks
Daniel Nava (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 2 RBIs
Guillermo Quiroz (1): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Blue Jays vs. Lester (LHP)
Yunel Escobar (29 plate appearances): .304 BA/.393 OBP/.304 SLG, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
J.P. Arencebia (25): .217/.280/.478, 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Edwin Encarnacion (25): .190/.320/.429, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Adam Lind (25): .125/.160/.167, 1 double, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Rajai Davis (23): .238/.304/.619, 1 double, 2 triples, 1 home run, 5 RBIs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Brett Lawrie (13): .182/.308/.545, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Jeff Mathis (11): .300/.300/.300, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Kelly Johnson (10): .000/.200/.000, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Mike McCoy (10): .167/.500/.167, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts
Omar Vizquel (8): .286/.375/.286, 1 walk
Colby Rasmus (6): 333/.333/.333, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Yorvit Torrealba (4) .000/.500/.000, 2 walks
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