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Monday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Ricky Nolasco 05.25.15 at 8:35 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

Coming off a series win at home against the Angels, the Red Sox start a weeklong road trip with a three-game set against the Twins on Monday. The Sox finally got a much-needed jolt from their offense in the final two games of the Angels series, and will look to continue the trend in Minnesota as they send Joe Kelly to the hill to go up against Ricky Nolasco.

Kelly enters his ninth start of the season with a 1-3 record and 5.13 ERA. The right-hander has had some tough-luck losses, and has pitched better, especially lately, than his record and ERA indicate. His FIP (a fielding-independent stat measured on the same scale as ERA) is a more reasonable 4.23.

Kelly, 26, has not recorded a win since his first outing of the season April 11, but his last two starts were good enough to merit victories had he gotten more help from his offense.

Kelly went seven strong innings in his last start and allowed just two runs on seven hits while striking out seven. However, he got just one run of support and took the 2-1 loss at the hands of the Rangers.

“After the third inning, he settled in. He used his curveball a little bit more,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said following Kelly’s outing Wednesday. “He started to elevate his fastball for some strikeouts. And on a night when he wasn’t completely healthy in terms of an illness he was dealing with, he threw the ball exceptionally well. He takes the one-hopper off the hand that really, after the initial sting went away, didn’t affect the way he threw the baseball. He got a couple of big strikeouts with men in scoring position. A well-pitched game.”

In his last two starts combined, Kelly has allowed just three runs in 13 1/3 innings and yet has ended up winless, recording a no-decision to go along with his loss to the Rangers.

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Ricky Nolasco 05.13.14 at 8:35 am ET
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The Red Sox will kick off their three-game series against the Twins on Tuesday when they send Felix Doubront to the mound to face off against Ricky Nolasco.

This will be the first meeting of the year between Boston and Minnesota. Last season, the Sox posted a 4-3 record against the Twins, including a three-game sweep at Target Field on May 17-19.

Doubront (1-3, 5.09 ERA) is coming off of arguably his best start of the season, as the southpaw only allowed one run over 5 1/3 innings last Tuesday against the Reds. While Doubront has posted a 3.18 ERA over his last two outings, he has yet to pitch seven complete innings in any starts this season.

“We’re trying to gain some consistency with him to get deeper into games,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Doubront’€™s performance this year. “Our rotation is going to be critical to us and his contribution is going to be needed.”

Doubront has struggled in his career against Minnesota with a 0-0 record and 9.58 ERA in 10 1/3 innings. In his last start against the Twins on May 8, 2013, Doubront was rocked — allowing six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in what eventually resulted in a 15-8 Boston loss.

With a 2-3 record and 5.64 ERA on the season, Nolasco has yet to live up to the four-year, $49 million contract that he received from Minnesota in the offseason. Despite his slow start, Nolasco has posted two quality starts in a row, including a complete-game performance against the Orioles on May 2.

Nolasco dominated the Sox in his last appearance against them, only allowing two hits and no runs in eight innings of work.

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Friday’s Red Sox-Dodgers matchups: John Lackey vs. Ricky Nolasco 08.23.13 at 11:21 am ET
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As the anniversary of the Red Sox-Dodgers blockbuster approaches, the player with one of the Sox’€™ only remaining unwieldy contracts, right-hander John Lackey, will take to the mound to do battle with Los Angeles and right-hander Ricky Nolasco on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Although Lackey is one of the best-paid players on the team — he’€™s making about $16 million this season — he’€™s earned more of it given his performance, which includes a 3.22 ERA, tops amongst Sox starters, as well as a 1.22 WHIP and 7.99 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate.

Lackey started his month with a pair of hiccups, but his last time out, Saturday against the Yankees, he was very effective in a 6-1 win. New York managed just one run as Lackey scattered six hits and three walks in 6 2/3 frames. The one strikeout he recorded was his lowest total in nearly two years, but he recorded 15 outs on grounders.

After sitting for extended periods of time while the Red Sox rallied in the bottom of the fourth and sixth innings, Lackey worked into a pair of jams but escaped mostly unscathed.

‘€œHe set the tone for us, particularly in the fifth inning after we scored the three runs, he’€™s in a second-and-third situation with no out and really minimized the damage,’€ manager John Farrell told the media after the game. ‘€œAnd I think as best as I could briefly describe it, he set the tone for us on the mound today, which we needed.’€

Historically, Lackey pitches very well against Los Angeles, with a 1.89 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning in 10 games. The two Dodgers he may be most wary of, however, are former Red Sox ‘€” Carl Crawford (1.178 OPS, nine RBIs in 47 plate appearances) and Adrian Gonzalez (.967 OPS, four RBIs in 15 plate appearances).

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Hot Stove: Marlins say they won’t trade Ricky Nolasco 12.04.12 at 9:47 am ET
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According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark via Twitter, the Marlins have notified teams that they will not be trading right-hander Ricky Nolasco.

The Marlins have obviously been busy unloading their top players this season, as they dealt Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto in a deal that saved the Marlins nearly $161 million. Nolasco, 29, went 12-13 last season with a 4.48 ERA and 125 strikeouts.

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Reports: Marlins shopping Logan Morrison and Ricky Nolasco, but no plans to deal Giancarlo Stanton 11.14.12 at 4:07 pm ET
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In the aftermath of the trade that unloaded shortstop Jose Reyes and starters Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to the Blue Jays, the Marlins may not be leaving the proverbial dust to settle. According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (via twitter), there is an expectation that Miami will now trade right-hander Ricky Nolasco and first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison.

Though Nolasco continues to have low walk rates and has been relatively durable, his impressive 2008 campaign — in which he went 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA — seems like something of a career outlier. In the last four years, he’s gone 49-43 with a 4.68 ERA (worse than league average), and his strikeout rate has gone down in each of the last three years, from 9.5 per nine innings in 2009 to 8.4 to 6.5 and finally to 5.9 in 2012. He is set to earn $11.5 million in 2013, the final season of a three-year, $26.5 million deal he signed before the 2011 season.

Morrison could represent an intriguing option for a Red Sox team that is without a first baseman or corner outfielder. The 25-year-old struggled to a .230 average, .308 OBP, .399 slugging mark and .707 OPS in 2012. However, those numbers reflected in no small part his struggles in an offense-killing home ballpark in Miami, where he hit .209/.278/.329/.608 with four homers in 176 plate appearances. On the road, he hit .254/.342/.478/.820 with seven homers in 158 plate appearances. In parts of three seasons, the left-handed hitting Morrison is a career .250/.339/.442/.781 hitter who has shown similar splits against both right-handed and left-handed hitters. However, he was limited to just 93 games in 2012 and missed the final two months of the year for a knee injury that ultimately required surgery in September. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Marlins matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Ricky Nolasco 06.20.12 at 8:55 am ET
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In a rematch of last Wednesday’€™s game between the Red Sox and Marlins, the Red Sox will send young lefty Felix Doubront out to face righty Ricky Nolasco on Wednesday night at Fenway.

Doubront emerged the victor in the last matchup, as he no-hit the Marlins through 5 2/3 innings, allowing three hits over his seven innings pitched. The Venezuelan recorded nine strikeouts and one walk in the game as he improved his record to 7-3 with a 4.17 ERA on the season.

Doubront used that start to bounce back from one of his few bad starts on the season, as he had only lasted four innings in his previous start against the Nationals, allowing six runs in the loss. He has been consistently good for the Red Sox besides that one bad start, as he leads the team in strikeouts with 81.

His last start was his first time facing any of the Marlins hitters, and he was relatively successful against most of them. Jose Reyes broke the no-hitter up in the sixth inning with a solo home run, but Doubront did not allow much more than that.

Nolasco, on the other hand, only had an average outing last Wednesday against the Red Sox. Nolasco lasted six innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. One of those hits was a solo shot from David Ortiz to left field.

The 29-year-old righty has had an up-and-down season and has lost his last two starts. After going 4-0 through his first six starts, Nolasco sits at 6-5 entering Wednesday’€™s matchup and he has a 4.37 ERA.

Nolasco has had some success against the Red Sox hitters he has faced, holding Adrian Gonzalez to a .278 batting average in 20 plate appearances. Kevin Youkilis and Ortiz have both homered off of Nolasco in their careers.

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Marlins matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Ricky Nolasco 06.13.12 at 9:46 am ET
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Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront will take the mound for Wednesday’€™s series finale with the Marlins in an effort to bounce back from his worst outing of the season.

Doubront (6-3) only lasted four innings in his last appearance against the Nationals, allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks in the loss. The outing was his shortest of the season with only 82 pitches, and it raised his ERA from 3.75 to 4.34.

Despite only being in his first season in the starting rotation, the Venezuelan has been one of the most consistent starters for the Red Sox this season. He leads the team with 72 strikeouts and is tied for the most wins on the team with Clay Buchholz.

The 24-year-old will be making his interleague debut on Wednesday, and he has not faced any hitters on Miami’€™s roster.

Doubront will be facing off against Ricky Nolasco, who has had mixed results since starting the season 4-0 through his first six starts.

Nolasco (6-4) has a 4.36 ERA and 45 strikeouts with a decision in each of his last eight starts, going 4-4 in that time. Since May 12, though, Nolasco has struggled, going 2-4 with a 6.23 ERA and five home runs against.

Nolasco has only faced the Red Sox once in his career, earning the win in Boston in a game that was cut short by rain on June 18, 2009. Nolasco had only allowed one run on one hit through five innings before the game was called, giving the Marlins the 2-1 win at Fenway.

Kevin Youkilis has homered off of Nolasco, while Adrian Gonzalez has four hits in 15 at-bats.

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Trade Deadline: Marlins could make pitchers Leo Nunez and Ricky Nolasco available 07.12.11 at 5:00 pm ET
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According to Dan Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Marlins are considering making closer Leo Nunez and starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco available for potential trades. That is, if the Marlins decide to become sellers.

At 43-48 entering the All-Star break, Florida could hold on to its assets if the team manages to get back to .500 before the July 31 trade deadline. With two series against the Cubs and Padres coming up, they might just do it.

Nunez leads the last-place Marlins with 25 saves, while Nolasco is 6-5 with a 3.70 ERA. Florida sits 14 games behind the Phillies in the NL East.

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Marlins sign Ricky Nolasco to extension 12.20.10 at 6:37 pm ET
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You can scratch another potential Yankee pitching target off the list as the Marlins have reportedly agreed to terms with Ricky Nolasco on a three-year contract extension worth $26.5 million. The deal locks up the core of the Marlins young staff with Josh Johnson signed for the next three seasons, as well.

There had been speculation that the Marlins might make Nolasco available if they couldn’t come to agreement on an extension.

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Red Sox vs. Marlins Match-Ups, 6/18 06.18.09 at 12:29 pm ET
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The Red Sox head into Thursday’s game playing some of their best baseball of the season. Their starting rotation is firing on all (six?) cylinders (ignoring Matsuzaka’s struggles for the pun’s sake), they’ve scored at least six runs in their last four games, and they’ve got a big stick back in the form of one David Ortiz (.400 BA, .920 SLG, 4 HR since June 6).


All eyes will be on Jon Lester tonight as he continues what has been an incredible strikeout run. After striking out 11 Phillies Friday night, Lester became the first southpaw in Red Sox history to strike out at least 10 batters in three consecutive games. Entering tonight, Lester has 96 K’s on the season, placing him behind only Justin Verlander (110) and Zack Greinke (106) for the American League lead.

Meanwhile, Lester is on pace to absolutely demolish the team record for strikeouts by a lefty, as Alex Speier saw coming from a mile away. Bruce Hearst set the record back in 1987 with 190, but Lester projects to fan a whopping 239 this season.

The Marlins are generally unfamiliar with Lester. Here are the stats:

Wes Helms (3 career at-bats vs. Lester): 1-for-3, strikeout
Hanley Ramirez (3): 1-for-3, homer
Dan Uggla (3): 1-for-3

For what it’s worth, the Marlins as a team are second in the Majors with 540 strikeouts on the season.

A Boston victory tonight will make for the team’s second sweep in the last three series but in their way stands struggling Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco.

Originally drafted by the Cubs in 2001, the California native was sent to Florida in a 2005 deal for Juan Pierre. After winning 15 games atop the Marlins rotation last season, Nolasco got off to a miserable start in the ’09 campaign. The month of May was especially brutal for the righty. In his last two starts of the month Nolasco gave up eight earned runs in consecutive losses to the Brewers (3.2 IP) and Rays (2 IP).

Since then, Nolasco has begun to show some signs of life, tossing back-to-back quality starts against the Giants and Blue Jays in the month of June (0-1). While current Red Sox starters are new to facing Nolasco, perhaps this could be an opportunity for Mark Kotsay to see some time in the outfield given his extra-base hits in both plate appearances against the 26-year-old.

Jason Bay (10): .200 average / .200 OBP / .200 slugging, strikeout
Julio Lugo (3): 1-for-3, strikeout
Rocco Baldelli (3): 0-for-3, strikeout
Mark Kotsay (2): 2-for-2, double, triple

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