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Sox rained out in the Bronx

Teams will play two tomorrow

Jon Lester and Jarrod Saltalamacchia leave the field after last night’s game was postponed. Jon Lester and Jarrod Saltalamacchia leave the field after last night’s game was postponed. (Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press)
By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / September 24, 2011

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NEW YORK - The Red Sox and Yankees were rained out last night and will make the game up as part of a day-night doubleheader tomorrow.

The Sox will start Jon Lester today, with Tim Wakefield and John Lackey pitching tomorrow. The order has not been determined.

The Yankees will stay in order and start Freddy Garcia today with A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova going tomorrow.

The Red Sox were reluctant to use Lackey, who is 12-12 with a 6.49 earned run average. But manager Terry Francona yesterday named him the starter.

The other options would have been to use rookie Kyle Weiland or bring Alfredo Aceves out of the bullpen.

“We talked about a lot of different things, as I think we should,’’ Francona said. “I think after listening to a lot of opinions - and good ones, too - I think that I need to do what I always think is correct and I feel like that’s the right thing to do.’’

Lackey is 0-3 with a 9.12 ERA in his last five starts and on Monday allowed eight runs on 11 hits over 4 1/3 innings against the Orioles. But Francona is willing to try the righthander again.

“There’s a lot of things that go into it,’’ Francona said. “One is continuity or consistency. Everybody is bringing Aceves’s name up and I suppose they should. He’s been such a good pitcher. The balance for me is, can we possibly use Aceves five out of the next six days as opposed to one day when he’s not totally stretched out?

“I listened to a lot of opinions and I decided I know this is how I feel.’’

General manager Theo Epstein said the organization is trying to determine how to proceed with Lackey, who has three years remaining on what has become a regrettable contract.

“It’s hard to explain. If we could pinpoint the reason we would have addressed it by now,’’ Epstein said. “It’s a number of factors. It’s very difficult to explain. He’s had a much better track record than this. We have to spend a lot of time trying to get him back to what he was.’’

With Lester pitching today, that would keep him out the remainder of the regular season unless the Sox are willing to pitch him on three days’ rest on Wednesday in Baltimore.

“It doesn’t preclude us from bringing him back,’’ Francona said. “Hopefully we don’t need to do that.’’

The Yankees were willing to try to play last night. But the forecast called for heavy rain later. The Sox did not want to risk pitching Lester for a few innings and then losing him for the rest of the game.

Francona praised Yankees general manager Brian Cashman for respecting the position the Red Sox are in.

“Cash actually said, ‘This game means more to you even though it’s our home game.’ He was terrific,’’ Francona said.

Because the Sox are in New York for the final time this season, Major League Baseball had the final call on the game.

The Red Sox enter today’s game with a 2 1/2-game lead on the Rays in the American League wild-card race, with the Angels 3 1/2 games back.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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