Friday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Jon Lester vs. Miguel Gonzalez

July 04, 2014 - 5:50 am
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Weather-permitting, the Red Sox will open up a three-game series against the Orioles on Independence Day, sending Jon Lester to the mound against Miguel Gonzalez. Lester (9-7, 2.92 ERA) was dominant in his last outing against the Yankees on Saturday, allowing an unearned run over eight innings while striking out six. Lester, who faced off against New York ace Masahiro Tanaka in a pitchers' duel that lived up to the hype, earned the win in Boston'€™s 2-1 victory. "I knew yesterday that Tanaka was pitching," Lester said after the game. "I try not to pay attention to that. I've got to worry about how I'm going to go out and execute my game. Obviously, if you have a chance to hit, that's a little bit of a different story. But I can't worry about who I'm facing or anything like that. You've got to go out and worry about the nine guys who are in the lineup, not anything like that." Pitching in the last year of his contract with the Red Sox, Lester has posted a 2.92 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a 3.97 K/BB ration - all career bests for the 30-year-old lefty. Lester last faced off against the Orioles on March 31 during the 2014 season opener, holding Baltimore to two runs over seven innings while striking out eight. In 26 career starts against the Orioles, Lester is 15-4 with a 2.92 ERA. Gonzalez (4-5, 4.56 ERA) struggled in his last start Sunday against the Rays, allowing eights hits and three earned runs while walking four over 4 2/3 innings. Gonzalez, who recorded four quality starts in a row before being placed on the disabled list June 6 with strained right oblique, has yet to regain his form since his return. Over his last three starts, Gonzalez has given up 25 hits and 10 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings. "It's a little frustrating," Gonzalez said after the game. "It's frustrating to come back and not able to have that success. But it's a grind. The first half, we've got to keep working and hopefully finish strong." Gonzalez'€™s last appearance against the Red Sox was brief, as the Guadalajara, Mexico, native pitched just 1/3 of an inning out of the Baltimore bullpen on Aug. 27, 2013, surrendering a double to Jonny Gomes before being pulled from the game. In five career games (three starts) against the Red Sox, Gonzalez is 3-0 with a 3.13 ERA. Orioles vs. Lester (LHP) Nick Markakis (73 plate appearances): .232/.274/.319, 6 doubles, 16 strikeouts Adam Jones (64): .321/.406/.375, 3 doubles, 21 strikeouts Delmon Young (39): .176/.231/.176, 6 singles, 3 RBIs J.J. Hardy (31): .300/.323/.500, 9 singles, 6 strikeouts Chris Davis (29): .111/.172/.296, 1 home run, 9 strikeouts Nelson Cruz (27): .458/.519/1.000, 3 home runs, 5 RBIs Steve Pearce (10): .125/.200/.250, 1 double, 2 RBIs Ryan Flaherty has one strikeout in three plate appearances vs. Lester. Jonathan Schoop has one single and one strikeout in two plate appearances vs. Lester. Red Sox vs. Gonzalez (RHP)  Daniel Nava (8): .286/.375/.429, 1 double, 2 RBIs Dustin Pedroia (8): .250/.250/.250, 2 singles, 1 RBI A.J. Pierzynski (6): .333/.333/.333, 2 singles, 1 strikeout David Ortiz (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk Jonny Gomes (4): .250/.250/.500, 1 double, 2 RBIs Stephen Drew (2): .000/.000/.000 Mike Napoli (1): .000/.000/.000

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