After dropping two of three to the San Diego Padres at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox now begin a long National League road trip--making their first stop in Pittsburgh to face the revived Pirates. Well sort of.
The Pirates have surprised a lot of people this season, as they sit in fourth place in the National League Central Division with a record of 37-37; just three games out of first place. While the Pirates have one of the worst offenses in the league, they do have a pretty solid pitching staff--ranking in the top 10 in the league in many different categories including ERA.
While the Boston offense has been pretty strong, the pitching rotation has faltered as of late. Due to Clay Buchholz's injury and Josh Beckett's intestinal turmoil, Terry Francona was force to turn to Alfredo Aceves and John Lackey in the final two games against San Diego. Aceves, who started for Beckett, never got a rhythm going in the game, walking six San Diego Hitters (four of which resulted in Padre runs). On Sunday, John Lackey looked like the Lackey before the disabled list stint, allowing five earned runs while only lasting three and a third. We won't see either of them in this series.
We got news late yesterday that Beckett will be scratched yet again from his start on Saturday against Pittsburgh. In his place, Tim Wakefield, who will face his former team to continue his quest for win number 200. Luckily, he will be able to start in the highly anticipated Phillies-Red Sox battle.
Without further a do, here are the pitching matchups for the weekend series versus Pittsburgh.
Friday, June 24, 7:05 p.m.
Jon Lester (BOS) (9-3, 3.70 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm (PIT) (3-8, 3.29 ERA)
Saturday, June 25, 7:05 p.m.
Tim Wakefield (BOS) (4-2, 4.26 ERA) vs. Jeff Karstens (PIT) (4-4, 2.54 ERA)
Sunday, June 26, 1:35 p.m.
Andrew Miller (BOS) (0-0, 4.76 ERA) vs. James McDonald (PIT) (5-4, 4.86 ERA)