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Thursday’s Red Sox-Indians matchups: Jon Lester vs. Zach McAllister

04.18.13 at 9:38 am ET
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Jon Lester

Jon Lester will take the mound Thursday in Cleveland in hopes of continuing one of his strongest runs in recent memory. Zach McAllister will lead the Indians against him in a 7:05 p.m. start.

On April 13, Lester moved into sixth place all-time among Red Sox pitchers with 1,078 career strikeouts. That milestone came during his third straight impressive start, as he went toe-to-toe with Rays ace David Price and held Tampa to one run on five hits over seven innings.

So far in 2013, Lester has been the pitcher the Sox relied on before 2012: 18 strikeouts, three walks and a 0.95 WHIP. He’s allowed just three runs in his first three starts, in a total of 19 innings.

Lester has made 11 career starts against the Indians, the most he’s faced any team outside the AL East. He’s typically fared well: He has a 3.34 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP against them and has struck out 70, while walking just 23, in 64 2/3 innings.

This is McAllister’s second full year as a starter for the Indians. The 25-year-old finished 2012 with a 4.24 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. He went 6 1/3 innings in his first two starts of 2013, with nine strikeouts, no walks and 11 hits over that span.

McAllister had a 3.18 ERA at the end of July last year but struggled somewhat down the stretch, with a 5.06 mark in August and a 5.52 in September and October. He last saw the Red Sox on Aug. 11, when he allowed just three hits and two runs over eight innings in a 5-2 Indians win.

The Sox haven’t faced McAllister enough to allow much speculation on how they’ll match up against him, but of those who have seen him, Dustin Pedroia, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Carp and Jacoby Ellsbury all have hit him for extra bases, including a home run from Carp.

Nick Swisher, who signed with the Indians this offseason, has fared well against Lester in 57 PAs: He’s hitting .326/.429/.587, with two home runs and six doubles.

Red Sox vs. McAllister (RHP)

Dustin Pedroia (7 plate appearances): .286/.286/.429, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (6): .167/.167/.333, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Mike Carp (5): .250/.400/1.000, 1 home run, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Stephen Drew (3): .000/.667/.000, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Jacoby Ellsbury (3): .667/.667/1.333, 2 doubles, 1 strikeout

Jonny Gomes (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Will Middlebrooks (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Daniel Nava (3): .667/.667/.667, 1 strikeout

Pedro Ciriaco has no hits and one strikeout in two PAs against McAllister. Jackie Bradley, Mike Napoli, David Ross and Shane Victorino have never faced McAllister.

Indians vs. Lester (LHP)

Nick Swisher (57): .326/.429/.587, 2 HR, 6 doubles, 8 RBI, 8 walks, 12 strikeouts

Asdrubal Cabrera (20): .188/.222/.250, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

Mark Reynolds (16): .308/.438/.615, 1 HR, 1 double, 2 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Michael Bourn (7): .286/.286/.286, 2 strikeouts

Jason Giambi (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double, 2 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Ryan Raburn (6): .333/.333/.333, 3 strikeouts

Carlos Santana (6): .250/.333/.250, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Mike Aviles (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Michael Brantley (5): .200/.200/.200, 3 strikeouts

Yan Gomes (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Kipnis, Cord Phelps and Drew Stubbs have never faced Lester.

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