Tuesday's Red Sox-Rays matchups: Jon Lester vs. Roberto Hernandez

July 23, 2013 - 9:17 am
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After taking a few extra days of rest following the All-Star break, Jon Lester will take the mound Tuesday night at Fenway Park in a matchup against Roberto Hernandez and the surging Rays. Lester (8-6, 4.58 ERA) entered the All-Star break having allowed at least three runs in 10 of his last 11 starts. The 29-year-old had a 6.27 ERA with 11 home runs allowed during that span. Those numbers represent a significant change from Lester'€™s performance at the beginning of the season, as he had a 2.72 ERA with only four home runs allowed through his first nine starts. When Lester'€™s first start since the All-Star break was pushed back to Tuesday, speculation arose that he might have an injury. However, Lester denied having an injury and said that the extra rest was simply a chance to recover from a heavy workload in the first half of the season. '€œWe have the opportunity to do it, so, sitting down and talking about it, we felt like it was a good time. We moved it to Tuesday, and everything'€™s fine,'€ Lester said. '€œJust getting ready for Tuesday. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing crazy. Just kind of a normal day in the life of me.'€ Lester was slightly better than he had been as of late in his last start, as he allowed three runs on six hits through 6 1/3 innings. However, the Red Sox were shut out in that game, so Lester was handed his sixth loss of the season. Through his career, Lester has had a lot of success with two of the Rays best hitters, as Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria have a combined 34 strikeouts in 105 plate appearances against the lefty. Hernandez (5-10, 4.90 ERA) has been consistently mediocre since the beginning of June, as he has not held a team to less than three runs in eight starts since then. He is 2-5 with a 4.94 ERA during that span and has allowed eight home runs. His last start was consistent with the rest of his performances in July, as he has allowed three runs through six innings in each of his last three starts. However, Hernandez struck out six batters in the game, which is something he had not done since June 11. He is 3-3 in games in which he has struck out six batters or more this season. David Ortiz has hit Hernandez -- formerly known as Fausto Carmona -- hard throughout his career, as he is batting .409 against him with a home run and three doubles in 24 plate appearances. Rays vs. Lester (LHP) Evan Longoria (54 plate appearances): .213 BA/.315 OBP/.404 SLG, 2 home runs, 3 doubles, 7 RBIs, 7 walks, 17 strikeouts Ben Zobrist (51): .200/.294/.311, 1 home run, 2 doubles, 7 RBIs, 6 walks, 17 strikeouts Yunel Escobar (38): .300/.405/.333, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts Sean Rodriguez (29): .182/.345/.273, 2 doubles, 4 RBIs, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts Jose Molina (26): .348/.423/.348, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts Desmond Jennings (23): .364/.391/.682, 1 home run, 1 triple, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts Kelly Johnson (14): .000/.143/.000, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts Luke Scott (11): .000/.000/.000, 5 strikeouts Matthew Joyce (9): .500/.566/1.250, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts Jose Lobaton (7): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts Sam Fuld (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout James Loney (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts Wil Myers has not faced Lester. Red Sox vs. Hernandez (RHP) David Ortiz (24 plate appearances): .409 BA/.458 OBP/.682 SLG, 1 home run, 3 doubles, 5 RBIs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts Mike Napoli (23): .273/.304/.455, 1 home run, 1 double, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts Dustin Pedroia (19): .071/.263/.143, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts Jacoby Ellsbury (17): .250/.294/.250, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts Jarrod Saltalamacchia (11): .300/.364/.500, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts Jonny Gomes (8): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts Shane Victorino (7): .167/.167/.167, 1 RBI Stephen Drew (5): .333/.600/.333, 2 walks, 1 strikeout Daniel Nava (4): .500/.500/.500 Mike Carp (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 strikeout Jose Iglesias (3): .667/.667/.667, 1 strikeout Ryan Lavarnway and Brandon Snyder have not faced Hernandez.

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