The Sox haven’t won three in a row since June 26-29. But they have a chance tonight. Here are the lineups:
RED SOX (55-42)
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (11-4, 2.81)
Ja. Wilson SS
Pitching: RHP David Pauley (0-2, 2.40)
Game time: 10:10 p.m.
State of the Sox: The Sox are 3-2 on a road trip that has five games left. They start the game 6.5 games behind the Yankees in the division and were three games behind the Rays in the wild-card race pending the result of their game at Cleveland.
Local hero: Jon Lester, who grew up in nearby Tacoma, returns home an All-Star. But he hasn’t pitched well against his hometown team. Lester is 1-1 with a 4.55 ERA in five starts against Seattle in his career; 1-1, 5.48 in four starts at Safeco Field. Ichiro is 6 for 18 against him with two home runs.
Relief aces: Daniel Bard has now allowed a run in his last 14.2 innings while Jonathan Papelbon has not allowed an earned run in his last 9.1 innings.
Papelbon has thrown 48 pitches in the last two days and Bard 19. It would not a surprise if Papelbon were shut down tonight.
Coming on strong: Kevin Youkilis is 15 of 33 with five runs scored and three RBIs in his last eight games.
But at least he won a trophy: David Ortiz has not hit a home run in 36 at-bats since winning the Home Run Derby. Who’s to say if there’s a connection? Ortiz does not think there is. But, still, 36 at-bats is a long time for him.
Other stuff: Hideki Okajima has not allowed a run in 3.1 innings since the break. … Bill Hall has four home runs in his last 11 starts. … Ortiz has not been out of the lineup in an American League game since May 20. … The Sox have a team ERA of 4.23. The lowest it has been all season was 4.20. … Seattle is 4-16 this month and has lost 13 of its last 16.
On the iPod right now: Sir Duke by the great Stevie Wonder.
We’ll be back with more later on.