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Wednesday’s Red Sox-A’s matchups: Jon Lester vs. Brett Anderson

04.24.13 at 9:25 am ET
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Jon Lester has typically been a slow starter, entering this season at 7-8 in his career in April. This year has been a completely different story, as the 3-0 Lester has been outdone by very few in the American League, including his teammate Clay Buchholz. In Wednesday’s 4:05 p.m. game against the A’s, Lester and the Sox will be opposed by another left-hander in Brett Anderson.

Lester has thrown 26 innings in four starts, posting a 1.73 ERA and remarkable 0.88 WHIP. He has 23 strikeouts and four walks and is the only Sox starter yet to give up a home run.

On Thursday, Lester went seven innings for the third straight start and allowed two runs on four hits, struck out five and walked one. The Red Sox beat the Indians, 6-3, at the time stretching their winning streak to six games. One man who is not surprised by Lester’s turnaround is former Sox manager Terry Francona, who now is managing the Indians.

“Lester has a lot of ways to attack hitters,” Francona said. “Whether it’s depth on his two-seamer or life on the fastball, and then he’s got that cutter. And he threw an occasional breaking ball. He has a lot of ways of opening up the plate.”

Slated as the No. 1 starter on the A’s depth chart, Anderson has been anything but that thus far. He enters Wednesday’s game at 1-3 with a 5.95 ERA and had to be removed from his most recent start after just one inning due to a sprained right ankle.

“I don’t know if I just landed on it wrong or what,” Anderson said. “I know when I landed, it didn’t feel great. Then when I came into the dugout it started to stiffen up.”

Anderson actually had two solid outings to open the 2013 campaign, though they were against the anemic offenses of the Mariners and Astros. In his third start, Anderson was pounded by the potent Tigers hitters for seven runs in 5 2/3 innings, and then followed it up by allowing four runs in his one inning of work against the Rays. Anderson will try to turn it around vs. the Sox, against whom he has had much success in his career, going 5-2 with a 2.70 ERA.

This young A’s team has only three hitters with any experience against Lester, with Coco Crisp having the most success at 2-for-5 with a home run. Meanwhile, Mike Napoli has hit Anderson well, hitting .400 with a home run and four RBIs.

A’s vs. Lester (LHP)

Coco Crisp (6 plate appearances): .400 BA/.333 OBP/1.000 SLG, 1 home run, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout

Chris Young (3): .500/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Josh Reddick has one strikeout in three plate appearances vs. Lester. Josh Donaldson, Nate Freiman, John Jaso, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss, Derek Norris, Andy Parrino, Seth Smith, Eric Sogard and Michael Taylor have never faced Lester.

Red Sox vs. Anderson (LHP)

Dustin Pedroia (17 plate appearances): .267/.353/.333, 1 double, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (15): .200/.200/.200, 2 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (14): .400/.571/.900, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 doubles, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (13): .000/.083/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (13): .308/.308/.385, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Pedro Ciriaco (3): .333/.333/.333

Mike Carp, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, David Ross and Shane Victorino have never faced Anderson.

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