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Saturday’s Red Sox-Rangers matchups: John Lackey vs. Alexi Ogando

05.04.13 at 10:26 am ET
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John Lackey

The Red Sox take on the Rangers on Saturday night, and John Lackey will look to build off of a strong outing in what was his first full, injury-free game of 2013, as he picked up his first win since Aug. 23, 2011. Lackey will be opposed by former reliever Alexi Ogando.

Lackey will make his third start of the season, coming in at 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA. After what looked like a promising season debut on April 6, the big right-hander suffered a strained right biceps injury and did not make a start until 22 days later. In Sunday’s start against the Astros, Lackey went six innings, allowing only a first-inning run and five hits total. He walked two and struck out four.

“I thought the ball got out of his hand better than expected,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “Not only in terms of velocity, but in the action to which some of his pitches showed at the bottom of the strike zone — whether it was a two-seamer to get a number of ground balls, he had a good cutter, consistent sharpness to his curveball, as we saw in Toronto in his first outing. Honestly, it was better than expected in most ways.”

Lackey has struggled mightily against the Rangers in his career, posting a 12-14 record with a monstrous 6.16 ERA. In 195 2/3 total innings against the team, he has 171 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Ogando enters Saturday’s start at 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA. He has a 1.25 WHIP and has struck out 27 in 32 innings of work. The first half of April was much kinder to Ogando, as he began the year 2-0 while only allowing two earned runs in his first three starts. In his last three, though, he is 0-2 and has given up 10 earned runs in just 15 1/3 innings. Since striking out 10 hitters in his season debut, he has not surpassed five in that department.

In Sunday’s start, Ogando went six innings, allowing three runs on four hits, including a big two-run home run to Twins slugger Justin Morneau in the sixth. The Rangers lost that game, 5-0.

“Really, Alexi made one mistake,” Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski said after that game. “He threw a slider up, and Morneau didn’t miss it. … You feel bad when a guy like Derek [Holland] yesterday comes out and gives us a chance early, and today we really didn’t have a lot of scoring opportunities.”

Ogando is 1-2 with a 5.11 ERA in 12 1/3 career inning vs. the Red Sox. In his only career start against them, Ogando surrendered four home runs and six runs total in four innings of work back in 2011.

A handful of Rangers hitters have a large sample size of experience vs. Lackey, mostly from his days with the Angels. Of them, Ian Kinsler has hit him the best, batting .438 with three home runs and eight RBIs. The same amount of experience can not be said for the Sox, as no current hitter has faced Ogando more than five times.

Red Sox vs. Ogando (RHP)

Jacoby Ellsbury (5 plate appearances): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (5): .250/.400/1.000, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 walk

Mike Carp (4): .250/.250/.250, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Mike Napoli (4): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Stephen Drew (3): .667/.667/.667

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2): .500/.500/2.000, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout

Jonny Gomes (2): .000/.000/.000

Pedro Ciriaco (1): .000/.000/.000

Daniel Nava has one walk in one plate appearance vs. Ogando. Will Middlebrooks, David Ross and Shane Victorino have never faced Ogando.

Rangers vs. Lackey (RHP)

Adrian Beltre (58): .196/.224/.321, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 1 double, 2 walks, 14 strikeouts

A.J. Pierzynski (46): .238/.283/.286, 3 RBI, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts

Ian Kinsler (38): .438/.500/.813, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 1 triple, 1 double, 4 walks, 1 strikeout

Nelson Cruz (25): .250/.280/.250, 3 RBI, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts

Elvis Andrus (24): .182/.217/.318, 3 RBI, 1 triple, 1 double, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

David Murphy (20): .438/.526/.688, 1 RBI, 1 triple, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Mitch Moreland (7): .286/.286/.286, 1 strikeout

Lance Berkman (6): .333/.667/.333, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Craig Gentry (1): .000/.000/.000

Jeff Baker, Leury Garcia, Leonys Martin and Geovany Soto have never faced Lackey.

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