Sunday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: Jon Lester vs. Yordano Ventura

July 20, 2014 - 4:05 am

The Red Sox will close out a three-game series against the Royals on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park, sending Jon Lester to the hill against Yordano Ventura. Lester (9-7, 2.65 ERA) has been nearly unhittable for over a month, allowing just one earned run over his last six starts, posting a 1.01 ERA in the process. The 6-foot-4 lefty, who has posted career-highs in ERA (2.65) and WHIP (1.14) this season, continued his torrid pace in his last start July 10 against the White Sox. Against Chicago, Lester allowed just one earned run over seven innings with zero walks and 12 strikeouts. Lester looked dominant from the get-go, striking out two batters in each of the first five innings of the game. "I had pretty good command of my fastball to both sides, but I think the biggest pitch was my curveball," Lester said after the game. "I was dropping it in for strikes and bouncing it, too. When I'm able to do that, I can get some separation from my fastball and cutter. It widens the plate for me. I was able to exploit that today." Lester was solid in his last outing against Kansas City on Aug. 8, 2013, allowing three runs (one earned) in seven innings of work in what as an eventual 5-1 Royals victory. In 10 career starts against the Royals, Lester is 6-3 with a 1.60 ERA -- which stands as the lowest ERA from an active pitcher with at least seven starts against Kansas City. Ventura (7-7, 3.22 ERA) struggled in his last start on July 9 against the Rays, surrendering four runs in five innings while throwing 104 pitches in the process. Despite Venture'€™s underwhelming showing on the mound, Kansas City emerged with a win, 5-4. Ventura'€™s performance was a far cry from his previous start July 4 against the Indians, in which the 23-year-old righty allowed just one run in 8 1/3 innings. Sunday will mark Ventura'€™s first career appearance against the Red Sox. Royals vs. Lester (LHP) Billy Butler (24 plate appearances): .211/.375/.263, 1 double, 8 strikeouts Alex Gordon (19): .118/.158/.176, 1 double, 7 strikeouts Danny Valencia (17): .294/.294/.588, 1 home run, 3 RBIs Raul Ibanez (15): .333/.333/.667, 1 home run, 6 strikeouts Alcides Escobar (13): .300/.462/.400, 1 double, 3 walks Eric Hosmer (13): .300/.462/.600,1 home run, 3 walks Mike Moustakas (9): .429/.556/.429, 3 singles, 3 RBIs Lorenzo Cain (8): .250/.250/.375, 1 double, 2 strikeouts Omar Infante (6): .333/.333/.333, 2 singles Jarrod Dyson has one strikeout in three plate appearances against Lester. Brett Hayes has one strikeout in three plate appearances against Lester. Salvador Perez has one single and one walk in three plate appearances against Lester. Red Sox vs. Ventura (RHP) No Red Sox batter has faced Ventura.