American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, May 20th
(All times Eastern)
Boston Red Sox (27-17) at Chicago White Sox (19-23), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - Jon Lester (6-0, 2.72)
Chicago - Dylan Axelrod (1-3, 4.27)
(Sports Network) - Jon Lester tries to stay undefeated on the season and pitch
the Boston Red Sox to a sixth straight victory on Monday night in the opener
of a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox.
Lester is a perfect 6-0 with a 2.72 earned run average through nine starts
this season, one year after going 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA in 33 outings. The
left-hander and Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.78 ERA) are the first Red Sox teammates
since at least 1915 to go undefeated with at least six wins each over the
team's first 40 games of the season.
Lester threw a one-hit shutout versus Toronto on May 10 and followed up by
hurling seven frames of two-run ball to beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old scattered eight hits without a walk and struck out five while
getting staked to an 8-0 lead by the third inning.
He has allowed more than three runs just once this season and brings an even
career mark versus the White Sox into this meeting, having gone 4-4 with a
5.20 ERA in nine games.
While Lester is still without a loss, Dylan Axelrod gets the call for the
White Sox tonight off his first victory of the campaign.
Axelrod dropped his first three decisions before beating the Minnesota Twins
on Wednesday with a shaky outing. He allowed three runs on nine hits and a
walk over 5 1/3 innings, getting plenty of support in a 9-4 win as he turned
in his second-shortest outing of the season.
The 27-year-old righty is 1-3 with a 4.27 ERA through eight starts this year
and could find himself the odd-man out of the rotation when John Danks returns
Axelrod has faced the Red Sox twice before, one of those starts, and has a
2.00 ERA without a decision. He has struck out 10 over nine innings with two
He'll try to slow down a Boston club that is coming off a three-game sweep of
the Minnesota Twins, taking Sunday's finale 5-1.
Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs while pushing his
hitting streak to 11 straight games, while John Lackey was outstanding over
six innings of one-hit ball.
Lackey fanned five without a walk and yielded just one unearned run. He
carried a perfect game into the fifth inning.
"I definitely wanted to go at least another inning," Lackey said. "I was
definitely frustrated not to keep going, but the bullpen came in a did a great
job, and winning the game is really all that matters."
The bullpen was able to hold on despite having to grind past a three-hour rain
delay in the middle of the seventh inning.
Pedroia, meanwhile, is hitting .467 over his hitting streak as Boston sits a
half game behind the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.
The Red Sox should have a late-inning boost for this game as closer Andrew
Bailey is expected to be activated from the disabled list. The righty had five
saves and a 1.46 ERA in 13 games before getting sidelined on May 6 with a
strained right biceps.
The White Sox try to avoid a third straight loss after splitting a four-game
series with the L.A. Angels of Anaheim. They won the first two contests to
push their winning streak to four straight before suffering consecutive
Chicago was bested 6-2 in Sunday's finale as Jake Peavy was touched for four
runs as he yielded four hits and five walks in six innings. He also struck out
six in his first loss since April 9.
"It wasn't like Jake's velocity was down," said White Sox manager Robin
Ventura of Peavy's high walk total. "It was just uncharacteristic of Jake
Alex Rios hit an RBI double and is batting .386 with four homers and 12 RBI
over a 14-game hitting streak. He is 9-for-38 (.237) lifetime versus Lester.
The Red Sox have won eight of their past 10 versus the White Sox, going 5-1 in
Chicago over that span.
05/20 10:30:34 ET