Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Jon Lester vs. Erik Bedard

June 01, 2014 - 4:44 am

The Red Sox will send Jon Lester to the mound Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park to take on Rays pitcher Erik Bedard in the final game of a three-game series. While Lester's (5-6, 3.45 ERA) last start against the Braves on May 27 wasn't perfect, it certainly was an improvement over his performance five days earlier, when the southpaw surrendered seven earned runs to the Blue Jays over 6 1/3 innings on May 22. Against Atlanta, Lester gave up three runs off of eight hits over six innings of work. While the Tacoma, Wash., native left the game with his team trailing 3-2, Boston'€™s bats would finally wake up, rallying for four times in the seventh en route to a 6-3 Red Sox victory. "A grind from the first pitch," Lester said after the game. "They made us work a lot. We made some decent pitches when we had to, minimized damage when we had to. That was big offense. That seventh inning was huge. To pick me up like that anytime they scored, to come back out and give them a run, obviously not what we're trying to do. But that's huge for those guys to come and pick me up right there." While Lester only managed 11 first-pitch strikes against the 27 Braves batters that he faced, he still managed to post an encouraging 10-to-1 ground ball-to-fly out ratio in his outing. Lester's last regular-season start against the Rays came on July 23, 2013, as the left-hander held Tampa Bay to two runs over 6 1/3 innings while striking out eight. In 26 regular-season starts against the Rays, Lester is 12-9 with a 4.30 ERA. Bedard (2-3, 4.10 ERA) struggled mightily in his last start on May 26, as a slugging Toronto lineup had its way with the Ontario native, scoring eight runs and collecting 13 hits in just four innings. "They're hitting every hole," Bedard said after the game. "Everything was going their way. They hit good pitches and everything." Bedard, who pitched in eight games for the Red Sox in 2011, last faced off against Boston on April 29, 2014, allowing one earned run over five innings while striking out four. In 15 career appearances against Boston, Bedard is 5-5 with a 4.50 ERA. Rays vs. Lester (LHP) Evan Longoria (57 plate appearances): .220/.316/.460, 3 home runs, 18 strikeouts Yunel Escobar (41): .273/.375/.303, 1 double, 5 walks Sean Rodriguez (31): .208/.355/.292, 2 double, 4 RBIs Jose Molina (29): .346/.414/.385, 1 double, 7 strikeouts Desmond Jennings (26): .360/.385/.640, 1 HR, 6 strikeouts David DeJesus (19): .059/.105/.059, 1 single, 5 strikeouts Matthew Joyce (12): .364/.417/.909, 2 HR, 6 RBIs James Loney (9): .250/.333/.250, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts Logan Forsythe (3): .000/.000/.000 Wil Myers (3): .667/.667/2.000, 1 double, 1 HR Red Sox vs. Bedard (LHP)  David Ortiz (37): .172/.324/.310, 1 HR, 9 strikeouts Jonny Gomes (32): .185/.313/.333, 1 HR, 4 walks A.J. Pierzynski (23): .391/.391/.652, 2 HR, 4 RBI Dustin Pedroia (21): .158/.238/.263, 2 doubles, 1 RBI Grady Sizemore (18): 000/.278/.000, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts David Ross (4): .500/.500/2.000, 2 HR, 2 RBIs Xander Bogaerts has one walk and one strikeout in two plate appearances vs. Bedard. Jackie Bradley has one double in two plate appearances vs. Bedard. Daniel Nava has one strikeout in two plate appearances vs. Bedard.