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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Padres matchups: John Lackey vs. Robbie Erlin

07.02.13 at 11:23 am ET

The Red Sox will send John Lackey to the mound Tuesday to take on Padres rookie Robbie Erlin in the first game of a three-game series with San Diego.

Lackey (5-5, 2.99 ERA) has not been saddled with a loss since May, and has only allowed four runs in a game once in his last eight starts. Lackey has not had his ERA this low to start July since 2008 with the Angels, when he started the season late and had a 1.44 ERA through nine starts. The right-hander went 12-5 that season and finished with a 3.75 ERA.

In his last outing, Lackey had no trouble making hitters miss as he struck out 12 batters in a 5-3 win over the Rockies. The 12 strikeouts tied a career high, and the total of 14 swinging strikes was tied for the most he threw in a game this season.

“Probably the strongest he’s been all year,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Outstanding fastball command, good power to it and a lot of strikes.”

Lackey has not had a lot of experience with Padres hitters because he has spent his entire career in the American League. However, Carlos Quentin has hit Lackey hard in his career and has six extra-base hits — including four home runs — in his 15 plate appearances against him.

Erlin (1-0, 3.60 ERA) has had success in each of his two starts this season — not allowing more than two runs in either. The 22-year-old made his major league debut in a relief appearance on April 30, and made his first career start on June 1 after a stint back in the minors.

The former Rangers prospect had the better of his two starts in his last outing, when he allowed two runs on four hits while striking out seven through 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Phillies. His first start was his first career win, when he allowed only two runs on eight hits against the Blue Jays.

While Erlin has 11 strikeouts in two career starts, he does not overpower hitters with his pitches. His fastball sits at around 88-91 mph according to Baseball Prospectus, but he mixes it in well with a good changeup to fool hitters. Through 190 pitches as a starter, he has only forced five swings-and-misses.

Padres vs. Lackey (RHP)

Mark Kotsay (38 plate appearances): .243 BA/.263 OBP/.324 SLG, 3 doubles, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

Carlos Quentin (15): .615/.667/1.769, 4 home runs, 1 triple, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Chase Headley (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Will Venable (3): .500/.667/2.000, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk

Jesus Guzman (2): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Nick Hundley (2): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Alexi Amarista, Kyle Blanks, Pedro Ciriaco, Chris Denorfia, Logan Forsythe and Yasmani Grandal have not faced Lackey.

Red Sox vs. Erlin (LHP)

No Red Sox batters have faced Erlin.

Read More: john lackey, Padres, Red Sox, robbie erlin
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