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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Jon Lester vs. David Price

05.15.13 at 10:24 am ET
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It’€™ll be a battle of ace left-handers on Wednesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla., with Jon Lester taking the hill for the Red Sox against reigning Cy Young winner David Price.

The undefeated Lester threw a complete-game gem last time out, blanking the Blue Jays and allowing only one hit on the day. The lefty struck out five without walking a batter, bringing his strikeout-to-walk ratio to an even 3-1. He threw 118 pitches in the nine-inning performance, his highest total of the year so far. Lester made only one mistake on the day, allowing a double to Maicer Izturis, the only blemish in what would have otherwise been a perfect game.

The one-hitter clearly was Lester’€™s most dominant start of the season, but he’€™s been impressive all year long. Lester heads into his ninth start with a 5-0 record, 2.73 ERA and 0.987 WHIP. He’€™s finished at least six innings in six of his eight starts, while striking out five or more in every outing.

Lester has taken on the Rays 23 times in his career, facing only the Blue Jays more times. Over those 23 games, he’€™s 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA while striking out 143 Rays over 139 innings. Tampa Bay gave the Sox lefty some trouble last year, limiting him to only 10 innings over two outings, and scoring 10 runs on 10 hits and five home runs.

Price, who finished 2012 with 20 wins, a league-low 2.56 ERA and an American League Cy Young trophy, has struggled somewhat in his eight starts thus far in 2013, going 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA. Price has allowed five or more runs three times on the year, including his penultimate start in which he gave up nine runs (though only four were earned) on 10 hits and three walks to the Rockies. Apparently, Price has been dealing with some severe allergy issues that have impaired his vision on the mound, and he is being treated with eye drops to curb the symptoms. “All the trainers, they knew that I couldn’€™t see and that my vision was extremely blurry,” Price said Tuesday about his earlier starts.

Price has had success against the Red Sox in the past, owning an 8-4 record and ERA just south of three in 16 career games. Lester and Price have already met once this year, engaging in a pitchers’€™ duel at Fenway back on April 13. Both starters allowed only one earned run but neither would get the win; the contest remained knotted at 1-1 until Shane Victorino singled in Jacoby Ellsbury in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Red Sox vs. Price (LHP)

Dustin Pedroia (39 plate appearances): .303/.410/.485, 1 HR, 3 doubles, 2 RBI, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts

David Ortiz (30): .200 BA/.333 OBP/.280 SLG, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (26): .250/.308/.583, 1 HR, 1 triple, 3 doubles, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Daniel Nava (19): .056/.105/.056, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (18): .235/.278/.235, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts

Jonny Gomes (11): .300/.364/.400, 1 double, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Pedro Ciriaco (10): .100/.100/.100, 5 strikeouts

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (10): .125/.300/.250, 1 double, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Will Middlebrooks (9): .444/.444/.778, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Shane Victorino (9): .286/.444/.286, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Ryan Lavarnway (7): .286/.286/.429, 1 double, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts

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

Mike Carp has not faced Price.

Rays vs. Lester (LHP)

Evan Longoria (48): .214/.313/.357, 1 HR, 3 doubles, 6 RBI, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts

Ben Zobrist (44): .211/.318/.342, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 6 RBI, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts

Yunel Escobar (32): .308/.387/.308, 3 RBI, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts

Sean Rodriguez (23): .167/.304/.278, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts

Jose Molina (20): .333/.400/.333, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Desmond Jennings (16); .267/.313/.400, 2 doubles, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Luke Scott (11): .000/.000/.000, 5 strikeouts

Kelly Johnson (10): .000/.200/.000, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jose Lobaton (7): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts

Sam Fuld (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Matt Joyce (6): .400/.500/1.000, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Ryan Roberts (5): .200/.200/.200

James Loney has not faced Lester

Read More: David Price, Jon Lester,
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