Thursday’s Red Sox-Indians matchups: Jon Lester vs. Josh Tomlin

June 12, 2014 - 9:16 am

The Red Sox begin a four-game series with the Indians at Fenway Park Thursday night when they send Jon Lester to the mound against Josh Tomlin. Lester (6-7, 3.52 ERA) has been nothing short of inconsistent for the Red Sox as of late, and his last two starts are probably the greatest proof of that. Coming off arguably his best start of the season against the Rays June 1, Lester had maybe his worst against the Tigers on Saturday. The left-hander allowed five runs on 12 hits and didn'€™t record a single strikeout in his season-low 4 1/3 innings pitched in an 8-6 loss in Detroit. It was the second time this season he's failed to escape the fifth inning and the first in which he had no strikeouts since April 1, 2011, a far different Lester than the one that held Tampa Bay scoreless and fanned 12 batters over seven innings six days prior. "Obviously, wasn't good from the start," Lester said after the game. "It's one of those weird nights. I felt like, from the first throw in warmups to the last pitch in the mound, I just wasn't good. Combine that with a good hitting team like they are over there, obviously you get the results like tonight." Said manager John Farrell: "He wasn't as sharp or seemingly as powerful as we've seen him many times out this year. Predominantly right-handed-hitting lineup, and they got some cutters that didn't get to the intended spots for some base hits. He gave us what he had. Certainly it was less tonight than what we've seen this year." While the Red Sox were swept in a three-game series with the Indians last week, Lester has been successful in his career against Cleveland. Lester is 6-1 with with a 3.43 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians, and led the Sox to wins in both starts against them in 2013. Lester gave up two runs on four hits in seven solid innings in Cleveland for a 6-3 win on April 18, 2013, and took a no-decision in seven innings on May 25. The Sox won that game 7-4. Lester hasn'€™t lost a decision to the Indians since Aug. 4, 2010.  Tomlin (4-2, 3.12 ERA) has been a reliable arm for the Indians since returning from Tommy John surgery this season. The righty has surrendered three earned runs or fewer in each of his seven appearances in 2014, and led Cleveland to an 8-3 win over the Rangers on Saturday in a season-high eight innings. Tomlin held Texas to three runs on seven hits with no walks and a strikeout. "I was hoping to come back after the sixth," Tomlin said after the game. "The inning kind of snowballed for a second. I had to reel it back in and get that inning over with and get back in the dugout." One thing Tomlin doesn'€™t have going for him is his track record against the Red Sox. Tomlin'€™s career 7.17 ERA against Boston is the worst against any team he'€™s opposed in his career, although he hasn't faced the Red Sox since a relief appearance on Aug. 12, 2012. Tomlin is 1-1 in four appearances and three starts against the Sox. Indians vs. Lester (LHP) Asdrubal Cabrera (25 plate appearances): .333 AVG/.348 OBP/.429 SLG, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts David Murphy (15): .214/.200/.357, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 4 strikeouts Mike Aviles (12): .182/.250/.273, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts Ryan Raburn (12): .167/.167/.167, 4 strikeouts Carlos Santana (12): .300/.333/.300, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts Michael Brantley (11): .273/.273/.364, 1 double, 7 strikeouts Michael Bourn (7): .286/.286/.286, 2 strikeouts Jason Giambi (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 2 strikeouts Yan Gomes (6): .167/.167/.167, 3 strikeouts George Kottaras (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1HR, 1 RBI, Red Sox vs. Tomlin (RHP) David Ortiz (9 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.111 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk, 1 strikeout Mike Napoli (8): .333/.500/.833, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts Dustin Pedroia (7): .429/.429/.429, 1 strikeout A.J. Pierzynski (5): .200/.200/.800, 1 HR, 2 RBIs Stephen Drew (3): .000/.000/.000 Jonny Gomes (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts Jonathan Herrera (3): .333/.333/.333