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Saturday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: John Lackey vs. David Price

10.05.13 at 9:36 am ET

After a Game 1 victory for the Red Sox, John Lackey will take the mound on Saturday, looking to dig Tampa Bay a two-game hole, while Rays left-hander David Price will oppose him.

Lackey (10-13, 3.52 ERA) has not taken the mound since Sept. 24, when Boston fell to the Rockies 8-3 at Coors Field. Lackey surrendered four runs on three homers in six innings, and took his 13th loss.

“Not our best night from the mound,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “I thought John made a couple of mistakes he had to pay for, particularly in a ballpark where you put the ball in the air, it’s going to carry. The three home runs allowed were not common for him as strong as he’s pitched for us all year. In that seventh inning, we let that game get away from us with the four-run inning.”

The 11-year pro went through a rough month of September, as his ERA rose from 3.19 after an Aug. 28 start against Baltimore to 3.52 by season’€™s end.

Lackey received the Game 2 start over a perhaps more deserving (at least statistically) Clay Buchholz largely because of his home-road splits this season. He possesses an ERA more than two points lower at home than on the road (2.47 to 4.48). In addition, 18 of his 26 home runs allowed came away from Fenway. He posted a 6-3 record at Fenway compared to a 4-10 record away from Boston.

His last postseason appearance came with the Angels in 2009. Los Angeles defeated Boston in the ALDS and Lackey earned one of the three victories, shutting out the Red Sox over 7 1/3 innings. Against the Yankees in the ALCS, Lackey produced a 3.65 ERA but also a 1.703 WHIP in two starts. The burly right-hander owns a 3.12 ERA and 1.333 WHIP in 78 career postseason innings.

Lackey bounced back this season after a rough start to his career in Boston. In the first two years of his five-year, $82.5 million contract, Lackey averaged a 5.26 ERA. He then missed the entire 2012 because of Tommy John surgery. His 3.52 ERA was his lowest since 2007 (3.01).

Lackey allowed nine runs and 19 hits in just 10 innings in two forgettable regular-season starts, one that nearly led to a brawl, against the Rays.

Price comes off a dominant performance in Tampa Bay’€™s 163rd game that got the Rays into the playoffs. He threw a complete game at Texas, in a stadium infamous for its unfriendly pitching confines, allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out four in his team’€™s 5-2 win Monday. That win pushed the Rays into the wild card game against the Indians. They beat Cleveland 4-0 on Wednesday.

The six-year pro put together an odd season when compared to the rest of his career. He logged a career-best 1.098 WHIP, largely backed by an also career-best 1.3 BB/9.

But he’€™s deviated from the Cy Young form he showed last season. His K/9 dropped to 7.3 this season, the lowest since his rookie campaign in 2009, and his ERA jumped to 3.33 after posting a 2.56 figure last year. His wins were cut in half (20 in 2012, 10 in 2013).

Price has been lights-out ever since he returned on July 2 from 1½ months on the disabled list. His ERA decreased from 5.24 on May 15 to 3.33 by the end of the season. This will be Price’€™s fourth postseason start. He owns a career 3.96 ERA in the playoffs.

He also feasted on the Red Sox this season. In five starts and 32 2/3 innings, he has a 2.48 ERA and a .673 WHIP.

Rays vs. Lackey (RHP)

Evan Longoria (34): .323/.382/.613, 2 HRs, 3 doubles, 5 RBIs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts

Ben Zobrist (33): .407/.515/.519, 3 doubles, 4 RBIs, 5 walks, 3 strikeouts

David DeJesus (27): .250/.280/.250, 2 RBIs, 4 strikeouts

Matt Joyce (21): .333/.429/.667, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Yunel Escobar (19): .533/.579/.667, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

Delmon Young (18): .353/.389/.412, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walks, 5 strikeouts

James Loney (16): .250/.250/.500, 1 HR, 1 double, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Kelly Johnson (15): .200/.200/.200, 2 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Jose Molina (15): .154/.267/.154, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Desmond Jennings (12): .091/.091/.091, 5 strikeouts

Sean Rodriguez (6): .400/.400/.400

Jose Lobaton (3): .333/.333/.333

Sam Fuld (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Wil Myers has not faced Lackey.

Red Sox vs. Price (LHP)

Dustin Pedroia (51): .267/.353/.422, 1 HR, 4 doubles, 3 RBIs, 6 walks, 9 strikeouts

David Ortiz (42): .216/.310/.297, 3 doubles, 4 RBIs, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (36): .206/.250/.441, 1 HR, 1 triple, 3 doubles, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (31): .300/.323/.567, 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 15 strikeouts

Daniel Nava (22): .100/.143/.100, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

Shane Victorino (22): .200/.273/.200, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jonny Gomes (21): .200/.238/.250, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (17): .071/.176/.143, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Will Middlebrooks (13): .385/.385/.692, 1 HR, 1 double, 3 RBIs, 3 strikeouts

Stephen Drew (11): .000/.091/.000, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

David Ross (5): .400/.400/1.600, 2 HRs, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Quintin Berry (2): .000/.000/.000

Xander Bogaerts and Mike Carp have not faced Price.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, David Price, John Farrell, john lackey
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