Friday's Red Sox-Rays matchups: Jon Lester vs. Matt Moore

October 04, 2013 - 6:20 am
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The Red Sox will kick off their first playoff series in four years on Friday afternoon, as starting pitcher Jon Lester and the Sox will face off against the Rays and pitcher Matt Moore in Game 1 of the ALDS at Fenway Park. This series will be the second time that these two franchises have met in the postseason, as the Sox and Rays faced off in the 2008 ALCS. Tampa won that series 4-3 and advanced to the World Series, where the Rays lost to the Phillies in five games. It's certainly been a season of ups and downs for Lester (15-8, 3.75 ERA). The left-hander was hot out of the gates with a 4-0 record and 3.11 ERA in April, but slumped in the middle of the season to the tune of an unsightly 7.62 ERA in five June starts. Luckily for Lester and the Red Sox, he was able to regain his form after the All-Star break and reassumed the responsibility as ace of the Boston rotation. Over his final 10 starts of the season, Lester was 5-2 and only allowed more than three runs in a game once during that stretch (four runs against Baltimore this past Saturday). Lester was once again a workhorse for Boston, as he pitched in 33 games and threw 213 1/3 innings, the highest total of his career and his fifth season in which he has logged over 200 innings. Despite a shaky final outing against Baltimore on Saturday (four runs and nine hits allowed over five innings of work), Lester was still tabbed as the Game 1 starter by Boston manager John Farrell. Friday's game will be the third career ALDS start for Lester, but his first in the friendly confines of Fenway Park. "To be named Game 1 starter, especially after last year, to be named Opening Day starter, you know, big honor, obviously, very excited, especially for this organization with the history that goes along with it, the guys that have gotten that honor in the past," Lester said. "It's a big honor for me to have my name up there with those guys. And like I would say, I can go out and bust my butt and give the team the best chance to win [Friday] and set the tone for the other starters." Tampa has given Lester some trouble in the past, but the southpaw has a winning record against the Rays, with a 12-9 record and 4.30 ERA in 26 starts. One of the most dominant minor league pitchers in years (702 strikeouts in 501 1/3 innings of work), Moore (17-4, 3.29 ERA) has made a smooth transition to the majors with a career 3.55 ERA. Moore was great in his second full season this year, as his 17 wins ranked third in the American League. Moore did struggle with his control at times this season, as his 76 walks was the sixth-highest amount allowed by an AL pitcher this season. Moore, who has performed much better on the road (2.74 ERA) than at home (4.02 ERA) this season, likely will relish the opportunity to play against the Sox. Over his last two starts against Boston, Moore is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA. Rays vs. Lester (LHP) Evan Longoria (57 plate appearances): .220 BA/.316 OBP/.460 SLG, 3 home runs, 8 RBIs Ben Zobrist (54): .188/.278/.292, 1 home run, 7 RBIs Yunel Escobar (41): .273/.375/.303, 1 double, 6 strikeouts Delmon Young (36): .194/.250/.194, 3 RBIs, 7 strikeouts Sean Rodriguez (31): .208/.355/.292, 2 doubles, 4 RBI Jose Molina (29): .346/.414/.385, 1 double, 7 strikeouts Desmond Jennings (26): .360/.385/.640, 1 triple, 1 home run David DeJesus (19): .059/.105/.059, 1 RBI, 5 strikeouts Kelly Johnson (14): .000/.143/.000, 2 walks, 3 walks Matthew Joyce (12): .364/.417/.909, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs Luke Scott (11): .000/.000/.000, 5 strikeouts James Loney (9): .250/.333/.250, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts Jose Lobaton (7): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts Sam Fuld (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Wil Myers (3): .667/.667/2.000, 1 double, 1 home run Chris Gimenez (2): .000/.000/.000 Tim Beckham, Freddy Guzman and Kevin Kiermaier have not faced Lester. Red Sox vs. Moore (LHP) Dustin Pedroia (15 plate appearances): .143 BA/.200 OBP/.214 SLG, 1 double, 3 strikeouts David Ortiz (14): .462/.500/.846, 1 home run, 4 RBIs Jonny Gomes (12): .167/.167/.250, 1 double, 5 strikeouts Jacoby Ellsbury (8): .000/.250/.000, 1 RBI, 1 walk Shane Victorino (7): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout Mike Napoli (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts Stephen Drew (5): .400/.400/.600, 1 double, 1 strikeout Ryan Lavarnway (5): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts Will Middlebrooks (5): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts Daniel Nava (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout Brandon Snyder (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1): .000/.000/.000 Quintin Berry, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mike Carp, Brock Holt, John McDonald and David Ross have not faced Moore.

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