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Sunday’s Red Sox-Angels matchups: John Lackey vs. Jered Weaver

07.07.13 at 8:55 am ET

John Lackey will take on his former team as the Red Sox face Jered Weaver to finish up a three-game series with the Angels in Anaheim on Sunday.

Lackey (6-5, 2.81 ERA) has picked up the slack with Clay Buchholz injured, and has been the best Red Sox starter as of late. Lackey is 3-0 since the beginning of June, maintaining a 2.66 ERA, and is throwing an impressive 68 percent strike rate in six starts. That high strike percentage has resulted in a high strikeout total, as he has 34 strikeouts in those six starts.

That trend continued in his last start, as Lackey had no trouble holding the Padres off the scoreboard as he only allowed one run on six hits with six strikeouts through eight innings. According to Red Sox manager John Farrell, Lackey’€™s last outing was one of the best he has had in terms of arm strength since returning from Tommy John surgery.

‘€œThe last three outings it looks like his arm strength continues to build,’€ Farrell said. ‘€œWe are seeing some velocities on the board that we haven’€™t seen in quite a while from him. Once again, very good command, a lot of strikes — an outstanding performance on his part.’€

Lackey has had very little success against Josh Hamilton in his career, allowing four home runs in 33 times against him. Hamilton has nine RBIs against the right-hander while maintaining a .926 slugging percentage.

Weaver (2-4, 3.79 ERA) missed a lot of the early part of the season due to an elbow injury, but he has improved significantly in his last two starts. Weaver’€™s first four starts after he returned from the injury left him 0-3 with a 5.32 ERA, and he averaged less than six innings per start. However, the right-hander has lasted seven innings and given up only one run in each of his last two starts entering Sunday.

The last outing for Weaver was among his best of the year, as he only allowed six hits while striking out five and allowing one run through 105 pitches. Perhaps the best part of his outing was his pitch control, as he did not allow a walk in the game besides one hit batter.

Weaver has had plenty of success against Dustin Pedroia, holding him to a .200 batting average through 27 plate appearances while striking him out seven times. On the other hand, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli have each homered twice off of Weaver in their careers.

Red Sox vs. Weaver (RHP)

David Ortiz (33 plate appearances): .345 BA/.394 OBP/.621 SLG, 2 home runs, 2 doubles, 9 RBIs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (28): .320/.393/.640, 2 home runs, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (27): .200/.259/.280, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (21): .286/.286/.429, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (18): .333/.389/.533, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Mike Carp (12): .250/.250/.250, 4 strikeouts

Jonny Gomes (9): .250/.333/.500, 1 double, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Ryan Lavarnway (6): .250/.333/.500, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk

Jose Iglesias (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeouts

Shane Victorino (2): .000/.500/.000, 1 walk

Brock Holt, Daniel Nava and Brandon Snyder have not faced Weaver.

Angels vs. Lackey (RHP)

Josh Hamilton (33 plate appearances): .444 BA/.515 OBP/.926 SLG, 4 home runs, 1 double, 9 RBIs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts

Howie Kendrick (15): .267/.267/.267, 3 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Alberto Callaspo (14): .357/.357/.643, 1 home run, 1 double, 5 RBIs

Erick Aybar (10), .300/.300/.300, 2 strikeouts

Brendan Harris (6): .167/.167/.167, 3 strikeouts

Brad Hawpe (6): .333/.333/.333, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Mark Trumbo (6): .200/.333/.800, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Hank Conger, Collin Cowgill, Chris Iannetta, Albert Pujols, J.B. Shuck and Mike Trout have not faced Lackey.

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