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Lester can't hold Orioles down

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  June 6, 2012 12:45 AM

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Yes, Alfredo Aceves lost the game. But doesn't Jon Lester have to do better than a six-inning no-decision against that Baltimore lineup?

The two runs in the second inning came after Mike Aviles botched a double-play grounder. Lester gets a pass there. But after the Sox tied it up, he allowed a run in the sixth in a span of three batters. Then the Sox take the lead and he gives up a leadoff single in the seventh to Endy Chavez, a .120 hitter.

Chavez ended up scoring, as did two more Orioles.

The bullpen has been magnificent for going on two months now, so let's cut Scott Atchison, Matt Albers and Aceves a break. But Lester has to be better than a 4.64 ERA after 12 starts.

As the Red Sox contemplate trading Kevin Youkilis, there are two ways to go. They can get prospects or look for a solid No. 3 starter type to bolster the rotation. If they think this team can win now, they'll get a starter.

It could take Youkilis and another player or two. But the Sox have inventory to get a trade like that done. Nights like this are a reminder that what this team needs is help in the rotation. Their big three hasn't been very big.

Some random notes:

• Red Sox fans should get on-line and give Jarrod Saltalamacchia some love with the All-Star voting. He was 3 for 4 with a walk and is hitting .279 with a .918 OPS. As Bobby Valentine pointed out, Salty and David Ortiz are carrying the offense these days.

• Weak 0 for 5 by Adrian Gonzalez Tuesday night. Left four men on base.

• Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg is set to face the Red Sox for the first time on Friday. The celebrated righthander is 6-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 65 innings. Only Scott Podsednik (0 for 4) and Marlon Byrd (1 for 3) have faced him before.

• Darnell McDonald was activated off the disabled list after missing 22 games with an oblique strain. When the Sox add a pitcher later this week, they'll have an interesting decision to make. Will McDonald, Byrd or Podsednik go?

• Podsednik is has hit safely in all eight starts he has made and has has four sacrifices along with three steals. He's earned the right to stay.

• Bench coach Tim Bogar coached third with Jerry Royster attending his daughter’s graduation.

• Mark Prior struck out five of the seven batters he faced for Pawtucket. He is trying to return to the majors for the first time since 2006. It would be a great story if he makes it, especially in the same year Kerry Wood retires.

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