Previewing The Red Sox Vs. Padres Pitching Matchups

ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 15: : Pitcher Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on June 15, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Following the Red Sox' series victory over the Brewers, they look to keep going with their winning ways when they welcome the San Diego Padres to town for a three-game series at Fenway Park.  While the offense was very active this past weekend, Boston also got some pretty strong performances from its pitchers.

Thanks to surprisingly strong eight inning performances from John Lackey and Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox were able to take two of three from Milwaukee this weekend.  Even though he couldn't find his rhythm early and lost because of it, Jon Lester bounced back after the third inning to give the Red Sox eight innings of work also. Because all three starters this weekend were able to go deep into games, the bullpen was only forced into action for a total of three innings.  

Despite avoiding Zack Grienke, the Red Sox still had to face a pretty tough Brewers bunch this weekend.  They had to face starters Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Yovani Gallardo, who were a combined 19-9 before this weekend was over.  To take two of three from one of the top rotations in the National League is a pretty good accomplishment.  

The Red Sox will now welcome in another (surprisingly) top National League pitching staff in the Padres rotation.  Behind only the Phillies and Braves, the Padres rank third in overall pitching.  In more distinct categories, the Padres are fourth in the N.L. in IP and third in ERA.  Despite having a great pitching staff, they only have a 30-43 record to show for it.  It's due in part to their offense, which ranks last in the National League in many categories.

With that being said, the Red Sox pitching staff should have the advantage against the poor Padre offense. However the offense could be tested with the pitching staff.  Without further ado, here's the pitching matchups for the three game series vs. San Diego:

Monday, June 20, 7:10 p.m.

Andrew Miller (BOS) (0-0, -.--) vs. Wade LeBlanc (SD) (0-2, 4.26 ERA)

Andrew Miller will be making his Red Sox debut since being acquired last offseason from the Florida Marlins.  Since being viewed as a highly touted prospect when he was drafted, he has not lived up to the hype.  In years prior, Miller was an absolute mess on the mound, as his walk total was very high.  He just couldn't throw strikes.  Since then, Miller has been working in the Red Sox farm system to tweak a few things.  He's had a lot of success in AAA Pawtucket, especially of late, and will have a nice team to debut against, facing one of the worst offenses in the majors.

Wade LeBlanc will be making just his third start this season for the Padres.  Since his solid season debut against the Phillies this season (8IP, 3ER, 9H, 4BB, 2K), LeBlanc has been stashed in the minors. In his return last week, he was chased early by the Rockies, as he only pitched four and two third while giving up only three earned runs on seven hits.  Having faced some solid offenses this season like those of the Phillies and Rockies, the Red Sox shouldn't have too much trouble getting to him.  But then again, he's a lefty--even without major splits--and they are short handed.

Tuesday, June 21, 7:10 p.m.

Josh Beckett (BOS) (6-2, 1.86 ERA) vs. Mat Latos (SD) (4-8, 4.06 ERA)

Beckett will look to continue his dominance of late against the Padres.  In his last outing, Josh nearly had a perfect game as he went the distance, while shutting out the Rays and just allowing the one infield hit.  Beckett has been a rock for this Red Sox group this whole season, especially against the Yankees.  With one of the worst offenses coming to town, Beckett shouldn't have too much trouble figuring them out.  

Latos poses the biggest threat the Red Sox will face in this series, besides the SD bullpen.  Since having a strong 2010 campaign, Latos has struggled to find his old form in 2011, with his season possibly being hampered by some nagging injuries.  In his last two starts, Latos is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA.  

Wednesday, June 22, 1:35 p.m.

John Lackey (BOS) (5-5, 7.02 ERA) vs. Clayton Richard (3-5, 4.18 ERA)

Because of the injury to Clay Buchholz, John Lackey will be making a start in this series.  After starting out the season on a very negative note and eventually landing on the DL, Lackey has rebounded quite nicely since returning from the disabled list. Going 3-0 with a 3.75 ERA in his past three starts, Lackey may have found whatever it was he lost between his strong second half in 2010 and his weak beginning to 2011.  While rehabbing, Lackey changed his delivery and worked on his cut fastball as well.  It will be interesting to see if we will seethe  new-and-improved Lackey, or the atrocious Lackey we saw before the DL stint.  However, so far so good for Big John.

Since entering the month of June, Richard's numbers have been quite terrible.  In four starts this month, Richard is 0-4 with a 7.00 ERA.  This includes his last start last week against the Twins, when he pitched five innings and gave up five earned runs on 10 hits.  Even though he's a lefty, Richard has been quite solvable as of late.  Since being the highly touted prospect in the White Sox organization, Richard quite hasn't figured it out in the majors.

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