Saturday's Red Sox-A's matchups: Jon Lester vs. Tommy Milone

May 03, 2014 - 4:05 am

The Red Sox will face the Athletics in the second of a three-game series Saturday, sending southpaw Jon Lester to the mound against fellow lefty Tommy Milone. Lester had been the Red Sox ace through his first four starts, posting an impressive 2.17 ERA but holding a lackluster 2-2 record due to a lack of run support. While the 30-year-old hasn't received much run support in his last two starts, a combined four runs, Lester has not pitched well, with his ERA jumping to 3.10. It started with an April 22 start against the Yankees, when the lefty lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up eight runs (three earned) on 11 hits. He rebounded against Toronto on April 27 by pitching seven innings, striking out seven and walking none, but he did give up four runs on five hits, including a home run. Despite giving up the most earned runs in his young season, Lester thought he pitched OK. "I felt like I threw the ball better than the four runs [that] are up there," Lester said after the game. "I can deal with the mistakes. I just hate making good pitches they get rewarded with hits on." The southpaw has had a mixed bag against the Athletics, going 4-4 in his career in 12 games, all starts, posting a 4.21 ERA and a WHIP of 1.493. In two starts against Oakland last year, Lester went 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA, striking out nine and walking nine. The Washington native has a low strikeout-to-walk ratio against the Athletics, 1.75. His career average is a 2.53, while his ratio in 2014 is exceptionally high, at 5.38 through six games. Milone, who owns a 3.32 strikeout-to-walk ratio, is having the opposite problem to Lester, holding a 1.38 ratio in 2014 through four starts. The 27-year-old has struggled in his third year starting, going 0-2 with a 4.56 ERA, with all four of his starts have resulted in losses for Oakland. The 27-year-old has only faced the Red Sox once, back in 2012. Milone only lasted 4 2/3 innings that day, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits, three being home runs, while walking one and striking out five. A's vs. Lester (LHP) Nick Punto (13 plate appearances): .231 AVG/.231 OBP/.231 SLG, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts Alberto Callaspo (12): .200/.333/.300, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts Coco Crisp (12): .200/.250/.500, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts Daric Barton (11): .222/.364/.444, 2 doubles, 2 walks Yoenis Cespedes (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeout Josh Donaldson (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double Craig Gentry (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk, 1 strikeout Jed Lowrie (6): .400/.500/.400, 1 walk Derek Norris (6): .250/.500/1.000, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks Josh Reddick (6): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout Brandon Moss (3): .333/.333/.333, 2 strikeouts John Jaso and Eric Sogard have not faced Lester. Red Sox vs. Milone (LHP) Mike Napoli (7): .143/.143/.143, 3 strikeouts A.J. Pierzynski (7): .286/.286/.286, 2 RBIs Mike Carp (3): .333/.333/.333, 2 strikeouts David Ortiz (3): 1.000/1.000/4.000, 2 home runs, 2 RBI, 1 walk Dustin Pedroia has one hit in three plate appearances vs. Milone. Shane Victoria has no hits in three plate appearances. Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Jonny Gomes, Jonathan Herrera, Will Middlebrooks, David Ross and Grady Sizemore have not faced Milone.