With the Red Sox offense continuing to provide little support, the pitching staff has carried the load in keeping the Sox in ballgames and giving them a chance.
Rubby De La Rosa and a trio of relievers helped the Sox edge out a 1-0 win on Monday, and the odds look good for two in a row with the man on the hill on Tuesday: Jon Lester.
Though his record doesn’t indicate it, Lester has had a very good season with the Red Sox, going 7-7 in 14 starts with a 3.33 ERA – a number that would be much lower were it not for outings on May 22 and June 7, in which he gave up seven and five runs, respectively.
His last time out – on June 12 against the Indians – Lester went 7 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
Lester has faced the Twins nine times, eight as a starter, and holds a 1-4 record with a 4.74 ERA. Of the hitters in the Minnesota lineup, Joe Mauer has faced Lester the most in his career, going 7-for-20 with four walks. Other Twins who have a decent sample size against Lester are Kurt Suzuki, who is 4-for-16, and Josh Willingham, who is 2-for-11 with four walks and a hit-by-pitch.
Going for Minnesota is ex-Yankees All-Star Phil Hughes, who sports a 7-2 record with a 3.17 ERA in 13 starts for the Twins in 2014. He is coming off arguably his best start of the season, throwing seven frames in a June 11 win over the Blue Jays, allowing no runs on seven hits with no walks and nine strikeouts.
Hughes has pitched against the Red Sox 23 times in his career, starting 14 of them and going 5-7 with a 5.40 ERA. Dustin Pedroia (9-for-31 with two walks) and David Ortiz (9-for-25 with four walks) have far and away faced him the most of the Sox hitters. Other Sox batters who have tallied double digit plate appearances against Hughes are Daniel Nava, with three hits in 13 at bats, and Mike Napoli, with five in 12 at bats.