Monday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Jon Lester vs. Chris Tillman

March 31, 2014 - 2:41 am
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For the fourth consecutive year, Jon Lester will get the nod for Opening Day as he faces off against the Orioles and Chris Tillman in Baltimore. Lester comes into the 2014 season after posting a 15-8 record with a 3.75 ERA and a WHIP of 1.29 during the Red Sox' World Series run last year. The 30-year-old lefty finished off the year with five appearances during the postseason when he gave up a mere six runs in 34 2/3 innings. "He'€™s become a very good pitcher at a young age," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "And the early trajectory of his career, for a guy that'€™s made that number of starts for a franchise as storied as this, without having gotten to free agency yet, all those things combine. It speaks volumes for a talented guy at a very early age." Despite dealing with contract talks over the past few months, Lester had one of the better spring trainings of his career as he posted a 0.71 ERA with a 0.79 WHIP in three starts. The team and Lester announced on Saturday that while talks of a contract extension were going amicably, they would table the discussion for the time being. Lester is heading into the $13 million option year on what was originally a five-year, $30 million deal that he agreed to after the 2008 season. Lester last faced the Orioles on Sept. 28, 2013, in a game the Red Sox ultimately lost 6-5. The southpaw gave up four earned runs on nine hits over five innings of action and received a no-decision in the start. Overall, Lester has a 15-3 record against the Orioles with a 2.94 ERA over the course of 25 starts. In contrast to Lester, Tillman is making just his first Opening Day start after having one of the best seasons of his career in 2013. The 25-year-old righty pitched to a 16-7 record with a 3.71 ERA and a WHIP of 1.22 in 33 starts. Before turning in an All-Star and ace-worthy performance in 2013, Tillman had just 16 wins over the previous four years combined. Tillman, who is in his sixth season with Baltimore, made five starts during the spring and accumulated a 4.67 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP. He missed one appearance because of a bout with the flu. During his most recent outing against the Red Sox on Sept. 29, 2013, Tillman got a no-decision during the Orioles' 7-6 win after giving up five runs, four of which were earned, on eight hits in five innings. He struck out five but gave up home runs to former Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury and Quintin Berry, who now play for the Yankees and the Orioles, respectively. The righty has a 4-2 record with a 2.74 ERA in 11 starts against Boston. Red Sox vs. Chris Tillman (RHP) Dustin Pedroia (30 plate appearances): .296 AVG/ .333 OBP/ .370 SLG, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts Daniel Nava (21): .235/.381/.353, 2 doubles, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts David Ortiz (20): .063/.250/.063, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts Mike Napoli (15): .308/.400/.385, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts Will Middlebrooks (14): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts Mike Carp (12): .091/.167/.091, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout Shane Victorino (12): .364/.417/.636, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout A.J. Pierzynski (10): .100/.100/.100, 1 double, 1 RBI Xander Bogaerts has two strikeouts in three appearances vs. Tillman. Jonny Gomes has one strikeout in three appearances vs. Tillman. Grady Sizemore is hitless with no walks or strikeouts in three appearances  vs. Tillman. David Ross has one strikeout in two appearances vs. Tillman. Orioles vs. Lester (LHP) Nick Markakis (70): .242/.286/.333, 6 doubles, 1 RBI, 4 walks, 15 strikeouts Adam Jones (61): .302/.393/.358, 3 doubles, 5 RBIs, 8 walks, 21 strikeouts Matt Wieters (48): .341/.396/.455, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 8 RBIs, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts J.J. Hardy (28): .296/.321/.519, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts Chris Davis (26): .125/.192/.333, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts Nelson Cruz (24): .455/.500/.909, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts Nolan Remiold (15): .333/.467/.417, 1 double, 3 walks, 1 strikeout Manny Machado (12): .273/.333/.455, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 walk Steve Pearce (10): .125/.200/.250, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts Jemile Weeks (6): .000/.333/.000, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

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