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Thursday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: John Lackey vs. Kevin Correia

05.09.13 at 10:38 am ET

John Lackey will close out the Red Sox‘ series with the Twins on Thursday at 7:10 p.m., as Kevin Correia looks to continue his strong start for Minnesota.

Since returning from a biceps injury that sidelined him for most of April, Lackey has made two starts. He looked solid against the Astros on April 28, allowing one run on five hits over six innings as the Sox won, 6-1.

Things didn’t go quite as well his next time out, when Lackey needed 98 pitches to get through just five innings against the Rangers. He gave up three runs on six hits and three walks, allowing a home run, and the Sox lost 5-1, although Lackey’s pitching was less of a problem overall than the Sox’ lack of offense.

Over his three starts (totaling 15 1/3 innings, as he was lifted during the fifth inning of his first start with pain in his biceps), Lackey has 16 strikeouts and six walks, with a 1.44 WHIP and 3.52 ERA.

Lackey has made 15 career starts against the Twins, with a 1.25 WHIP and a 3.68 ERA. He’s struck out just 72 in 102 2/3 innings against Minnesota.

The last time he saw the Twins was on April 14, 2010. In his only outing against them in that season, he threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits and four walks.

Correia is with his third team in the last four years, and he’s been the Twins’ best starter early this season, with a 1.14 WHIP and a 2.83 ERA through his first six outings. He went at least seven innings in each of his first five starts before lasting only five in his most recent appearance, a 7-3 loss to the Indians.

Correia has never been an overwhelming strikeout pitcher — since 2011, he’s averaged fewer than five K’s per nine innings, and he’s fanned just 19 through his first 41 1/3 innings. But he’s kept his walks under control and worked efficiently this year, outside of his last start, when he threw 102 pitches through five innings.

Correia saw plenty of Stephen Drew when they were both in the NL West, as Correia pitched for the Giants and Padres while Drew was a Diamondback. Drew has a .278 OBP against him with one home run and three doubles in 54 appearances. (Another longtime National Leaguer, Ryan Dempster, has also come to the plate against Correia nine times, going hitless with three strikeouts.)

Of the Twins’ two biggest names, Lackey has handled Justin Morneau well, limiting him to two extra-base hits and a .286 OBP in 35 PAs. Joe Mauer has fared better against Lackey, hitting .435/.458/.696 with two homers in 24 PAs.

Twins vs. Lackey (RHP)

Justin Morneau (35 plate appearances): .242 BA/.286 OBP/.364 SLG, 1 home run, 1 double, 5 RBI, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts

Joe Mauer (24): .435/.458/.696, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Jamey Carroll (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Josh Willingham (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Oswaldo Arcia, Ryan Doumit, Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Pedro Florimon, Aaron Hicks, Chris Parmelee, Trevor Plouffe and Wilkin Ramirez have never faced Lackey.

Red Sox vs. Correia (RHP)

Stephen Drew (54): .250/.278/.404, 1 HR, 1 triple, 3 doubles, 6 RBI, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

Shane Victorino (16): .429/.500/.643, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

David Ross (14): .231/.286/.308, 1 double, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Jonny Gomes (7): .167/.286/.167, 1 RBI, 1 walk

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia is 0-for-1 against Correia. Mike Carp, Pedro Ciriaco, Jacoby Ellsbury, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and David Ortiz have never faced Correia.

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