|Friday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Jon Lester vs. Miguel Gonzalez||09.21.12 at 10:25 am ET|
The Red Sox kick off the final homestand of the year by sending out 28-year-old, seven-year veteran Jon Lester to start Friday night’s game opposite Orioles 28-year-old rookie Miguel Gonzalez.
The matchup provides Lester (9-12, 4.95 ERA) with one of the most favorable opponents he could have asked for in the Orioles. In 20 career starts against Baltimore, Lester is a perfect 14-0 with a 2.49 ERA, his second-best mark against an American League opponent. However, this year Lester has posted his worst numbers against the Orioles since his rookie season. In two starts this season, Lester has a 3.75 ERA after giving up three runs in six innings on May 4 and then two earned runs in six innings on June 5.
The last time Lester faced the Orioles in September was the famous final game of the 2011 collapse in which the Orioles’ Robert Andino hit a line drive in front of Carl Crawford to get the walkoff win. Lester, in fact, had a solid outing, giving up two runs over six innings. Andino will return as part of an Orioles lineup that has hit .251 against Lester and has recorded an OPS of .674. Impressively, Lester has given up just two home runs in 208 plate appearances against the O’s.
Lester has given up three earned runs in each of his last three starts, going six, 5 1/3 and seven innings in each start, respectively. In his most recent outing, Lester kept the Blue Jays largely in check but took the loss as the Red Sox were shut out, 5-0. Since the beginning of August, Lester has avoided the disastrous outings that marred his season early on, limiting the opposition to three runs or less in all but two outings and going at least six innings in all but one outing.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez (6-4, 3.57) will be making his third career appearance against the Red Sox, after facing them once out of the bullpen and then as a starter earlier this season. In his first appearance, Gonzalez pitched four strong innings out of the bullpen, giving up one run in just his second outing in the majors. In his limited exposure to the Red Sox, Gonzalez has avoided any major issues, giving up just one extra base hit, a double to Jacoby Ellsbury, in 23 plate appearances against the current Boston lineup. The current Red Sox are hitting .227 against Gonzalez with a .534 OPS
After making three strong bullpen appearances, Gonzalez made his first start for Baltimore on July 6 and has since become a regular part of the rotation. However, as the season has been winding down, the Orioles have lengthening the time between starts for Gonzalez, who last started on Sept. 12 and had six days off prior to that start. Against the Rays in his most recent performance, Gonzalez gave up two runs over six innings, getting a no-decision in what would become yet another one-run win for the Orioles, whose luck has been bringing about many of those types of games in 2012.
Orioles vs. Lester (LHP)
Nick Markakis (58 plate appearances): .200 BA/.241 OBP/.291 SLG, 5 doubles, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
Adam Jones (46): .225/.326/.250, 1 double, 4 RBIs, 6 walks, 16 strikeouts
Matt Wieters (33): .355/.394/.484, 2 doubles, 1 triple. 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Robert Andino (16): .375/.375/.438, 1 double, 1 strikeout
Chris Davis (14): .000/.071/.000, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Mark Reynolds (13): .300/.462/.700, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
J.J. Hardy (12): .455/.500/1.000, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Wilson Betemit (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Taylor Teagarden (4): .000/.000/.000, 4 strikeouts
Endy Chavez (3): .667/.667/.667
Steven Tolleson (3): .000/.000/.000
Red Sox vs. Gonzalez (RHP)
Mike Aviles (5 plate appearances): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 strikeout
Dustin Pedroia (5): .200/.200/.200
Jacoby Ellsbury (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI
Cody Ross (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3): .333/.333/.333
Daniel Nava (2): 1.000/1.000/1.000, 2 RBIs, 1 walk
Scott Podsednik (2): .500/.500/.500
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