Red Sox-Mariners Preview
After the Seattle Mariners' successful road trip, Felix Hernandez will try to help his club start posting better results at home.
Seattle (39-49) went 4-2 in visits to Texas and Cincinnati, completing the trek with a 3-1 victory over the Reds on Sunday. The Mariners never trailed after Nick Franklin's second home run in three-game series in the first inning.
"It's a real good trip for us," manager Eric Wedge told the team's official website. "I think we would have liked to have won one more, but you don't get greedy this time of year. You work hard to win series. Our guys fought hard and played pretty good baseball."
Seattle hasn't performed as well lately at home, dropping six of nine, but having its ace on the mound could help. Hernandez (8-4, 2.69 ERA) has won his last three decisions, though he hasn't received one in his past three outings.
He's given up two runs in seven innings each of his last two starts while totaling 18 strikeouts, but received two runs of support in both contests. He's coming off a 4-2 win over the Rangers on Wednesday.
Hernandez was superb in his most recent matchup with the Red Sox on June 28, 2012, tossing a five-hitter and matching a career high with 13 strikeouts in a 1-0 home victory.
Headed to his fourth All-Star game, the right-hander will try to outpitch Lester (8-4, 4.41), who's been dominant in his last three starts against the Mariners.
The left-hander has won all three of those games with a 1.96 ERA, the most recent Sept. 4 when he have up three runs in six innings of a 4-3 victory at Seattle.
Lester is coming off a strong outing that snapped an eight-start stretch of shaky performances. He allowed one run in seven innings of a 2-1 win over San Diego, though he didn't get the decision.
Lester had posted a 6.99 ERA in his previous eight games, though he's 2-0 in his past three outings.
He'll try to help the Red Sox to a rare win on the road, as they've dropped eight of 11 there.
Boston (54-36) earned its ninth victory in 10 games Friday against the Los Angeles Angels but dropped the final two contests of the set, including a 3-0 loss Sunday. The Red Sox blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning Saturday and lost in 11.
"I still like this team. Tonight, we didn't create a whole lot for ourselves, but this is a team that continues to battle," manager John Farrell told the team's website after the series finale. "There's a lot of good at-bats. We're going to put a lot of people on base. Tonight just wasn't one of them."
AL East-leading Boston will be trying to avoid its first three-game skid since May 11-14.
Seattle's Raul Ibanez, batting .360 during a 12-game hit streak, has two singles and five strikeouts in his past nine at-bats against Lester. Kyle Seager, hitting .500 in his last seven games, is 1 for 7 all-time versus Lester and is a career .205 hitter against the Red Sox.