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Thursday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Jon Lester vs. Mark Buehrle

05.22.14 at 8:59 am ET
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The Red Sox close out their three-game series with the Blue Jays on Thursday night when they send Jon Lester to the mound against Mark Buehrle.

Lester (4-5, 2.67 ERA) is coming off his second-shortest start of the season, but not due to a lack of quality. The left-hander gave up a run on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in five innings in a 1-0 loss to the Tigers in which he was outdueled by Max Scherzer. Lester threw 94 pitches in the outing but had his rhythm altered by a 47-minute rain delay 3 1/3 innings into the game. He also was a victim of little run support once again, as the offense is averaging just 2.89 runs behind him, good for 12th lowest in the American League.

“I can’€™€™t worry about that,” Lester said after the game. “It’s kind of the luck of the draw sometimes, like tonight, you can give up one run, you lose. That’€™€™s the nature of playing this game. Sometimes you give up six and get a no-decision or you hold on long enough to get a W. You just have to go out there and keep pounding the strike zone, that’€™€™s all you can really do. I can’t control what the other guy across the way is doing. I’ve got to focus on what I’€™€™m trying to do from pitch to pitch and not letting anything else affect me.”

Lester is 2-1 in May with a 1.80 ERA, with 30 strikeouts to just eight walks, and looks to continue that trend when he faces the Blue Jays for the second time this season. The 30-year-old took the loss in first start against Toronto on April 27, giving up four runs on five hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in a 7-1 decision.

Lester is 15-8 with a 3.61 ERA in 29 career games against the Blue Jays, and has had success throughout his career against most of the current Toronto lineup, including slugger Jose Bautista, who is hitting .193 with 11 hits and 12 strikeouts in 67 career plate appearances against the lefty.

Buehrle (7-1, 2.11 ERA) has had as strong a start to his second season in Toronto as could have been asked of him. The 35-year-old has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts, and although he took his first no-decision of the season in his last start against Texas, he did enough to help the Jays to a 4-2 win, holding the Rangers to two runs on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.

Buehrle’s lone letdown of 2014 came at the hands of the Red Sox on April 25, when he gave up seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits and three walks in an 8-1 loss in Toronto. Buehrle is 8-10 with a 4.55 ERA in 25 games against the Sox, and he has struggled against David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski is hitting .409 in 24 career plate appearances against Buerhle, while Ortiz has a .329 average with four home runs in 81 plate appearances and Pedroia is hitting .389 in 39 plate appearances.

Blue Jays vs. Lester (LHP)

Jose Bautista (67 plate appearances): .193 AVG/.284 OBP/.456 SLG, 4 HR, 3 doubles, 8 RBIs, 8 walks, 12 strikeouts

Edwin Encarnacion (43): .205/.279/.487, 2 HR, 5 doubles, 6 RBIs, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts

Melky Cabrera (40): .282/.300/.333, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

Brett Lawrie (31): .214/.290/.500, 2 HR, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Adam Lind (30): .103/.133/.138, 1 double, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts

Dioner Navarro (27): .227/.346/.227, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts

Jose Reyes (20): .053/.100/.053, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Anthony Gose (6): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Kevin Pillar (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk

Juan Francisco (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Josh Thole (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Steven Tolleson (3): .000/.000/.000

Red Sox vs. Buehrle (LHP)

David Ortiz (81 plate appearances): .329 AVG/.370 OBP/.605 SLG, 4 HR, 9 doubles, 14 RBIs, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts

Grady Sizemore (73): .217/.260/.420, 4 HR, 2 doubles, 8 RBIs, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (39): .389/.421/.472, 3 doubles, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Jonny Gomes (36): .333/.417/.467, 1 triple, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts

Shane Victorino (28): .240/.259/.400, 1 HR, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 4 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (25): .286/.360/.476, 1 HR, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts

A.J. Pierzynski (24): .409/.417/.409, 3 RBIs, 4 strikeouts

David Ross (13): .250/.308/.250, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (5): .200/.200/.400, 1 double

Jackie Bradley (3): 1.000/1.000/2.500, 1 triple, 1 double, 1 walk

Jonathan Herrera (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Read More: Blue Jays, Jon Lester, Mark Buerhle, Red Sox
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