Wednesday's Red Sox-Mariners matchups: John Lackey vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

July 31, 2013 - 6:39 am

The Red Sox will send John Lackey to the mound Wednesday to take on Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma in Game 2 of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Lackey (7-8, 3.19 ERA) tied his season high for runs allowed in a game with five in a loss to the Orioles on July 26. It was his second poor start in a row, as he has allowed nine runs and 19 hits in the last 12 2/3 innings he has pitched. Part of the reason Lackey'€™s run total was so high in his last start was his susceptibility to the long ball, as he allowed three home runs in the game. "The ballpark got me a little bit a couple of times, and their guy pitched pretty good," Lackey said. "I didn't pitch good enough tonight." Those last two starts are a big change to the way Lackey had been pitching recently, as he had allowed fewer than two runs in six consecutive starts leading up to the All-Star Break. He had recorded 41 strikeouts during that span while holding opponents to a .225 batting average. Lackey has struggled mightily when facing Endy Chavez throughout his career, as Chavez is batting .615 against the righty. Raul Ibanez also has not had much trouble against Lackey, as he is slugging .526 in 62 plate appearances against him. Iwakuma (10-4, 2.87 ERA) had his worst outing of the season the last time he faced the Red Sox, as he allowed six runs on eight hits and three homers in three innings. That start was at the end of a bad stretch for him, as he had been 0-3 with a 6.83 ERA with 10 home runs in five starts. Since then, though, Iwakuma has been back to being one of the top pitchers in the league. He is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last three starts while striking out 23 batters. The best of those starts came in his last outing, when he shut out the Twins through six innings while allowing only four hits. Iwakuma has been significantly worse on the road than at home this season, as he has a 3.34 away from Safeco Field as opposed to a 2.49 ERA in Seattle. Mariners vs. Lackey (RHP) Raul Ibanez (62 plate appearances): .386 BA/.435 OBP/.526 SLG, 1 home run, 5 doubles, 8 RBIs, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts Endy Chavez (14): .615/.571/.692, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts Justin Smoak (10): .100/.100/.100, 3 strikeouts Dustin Ackley (7): .500/.571/.500, 2 RBIs, 1 walk Brendan Ryan (7): .167/.167/.167 Henry Blanco (6): .167/.167/.167, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout Kendrys Morales (3): .333/.333/.333 Mike Morse (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI, 1 strikeouts Michael Saunders (3): .333/.333/.333 Kyle Seager (2): .000/.000/.000 Nick Franklin, Brad Miller and Humberto Quintero have not faced Lackey. Red Sox vs. Iwakuma (RHP) Stephen Drew (2 plate appearances): .500 BA/.500 OBP/.500 SLG, 1 RBI Jose Iglesias (2): .500/.500/.500, 1 strikeout Mike Napoli (2): .500/.500/2.000, 1 home run, 2 RBIs Daniel Nava (2): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout David Ortiz (2): 1.000/1.000/3.000, 1 home run, 1 double, 1 RBI Dustin Pedroia (2): .500/.500/2.000, 1 home run, 2 RBI Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2): 1.000/1.000/1.500, 2 doubles Shane Victorino (2): .500/.500/.500 Brandon Snyder (1): 1.000 OBP, 1 walk Mike Carp, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonny Gomes and Ryan Lavarnway have not faced Iwakuma.