It’s the final game of the series in Cleveland and here are the lineups:
RED SOX (35-26)
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (7-2, 2.73).
Pitching: RHP Mitch Talbot (7-4, 3.54).
Game time: 7:05 p.m.
State of the Sox: The Sox are 4-2 on a road trip that ends today. They are coming off an 11-0 loss last night that dropped them five games out of first place and three games behind the Yankees in the wild card. They return to Boston after the game and start a three-game interleague series with the Phillies tomorrow.
Right man for the job: Lester is 7-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last nine starts. He has allowed only 33 hits over 63 innings with 26 walks and 67 strikeouts. He is 3-0, 3.89 in six career starts against the Indians. Here at Progressive Field, however, he has allowed 11 earned runs over 16.1 innings.
Start me up: Sox starters have allowed six earned runs over 44.2 innings through the first six games on the road trip. … The starters have gone 6+ innings in 16 of the last 18 games since May 22. The Sox are 13-3 in those games.
They’re hot: Adrian Beltre has hit safely in 16 of his last 20 games with 10 multi-hit games. He is 30 of his last 80 (.375). … Victor Martinez is 27 of his last 57 (.481) with three homers and 11 RBIs over 16 games. … Kevin Youkilis is 15 of his last 35 (.429). … Bill Hall is 12 of his last 31 (.387) with two homers and eight RBIs. That’s over 11 games. … Mike Cameron is 7 of 24 (.292) since he came off the disabled list.
They’re not so hot: Dustin Pedroia is 16 of his last 90 (.178) over 22 games with three RBI and 11 strikeouts. He is hitless in his last 14 at-bats. … David Ortiz is 1 for 23 in his last seven games with two RBI and six strikeouts. That has dropped his batting average from .275 to .242. … Mike Lowell is 2 for 22 since May 9 with one RBI.
Fielding slump: Beltre has four errors in his last seven games and 11 on the season. He had 14 errors all of last season. Errors, given that they are at the whim of the official scorer, are not necessarily an accurate gauge of defensive ability. But clearly Beltre has messed up some plays he needs to make.
Help wanted: The Red Sox bullpen in the last six games they have been used:
16 earned runs
Opponents are hitting .240 against Sox relievers, the fourth-best mark in the American League. But the Sox are only 10th in strikeouts per nine innings (6.91) and are 10th in opponent OPS at .763.
Surprise, surprise: Talbot, a 26-year-old rookie obtained from Tampa Bay for catcher Kelly Shoppach, has been a pleasant find for the Indians. He has allowed only 68 hits over 73.2 innings. Talbott has faced the Red Sox once, throwing three innings of relief in 2008 and giving up four runs on five hits and three walks. Youkilis homered off him in that game.
On the iPod right now: Something Is Not Right With Me by The Cold War Kids.
Back with much more later on including a live in-game blog.