Red Sox-White Sox Preview
Not even a lengthy delay can slow down the Boston Red Sox’
No team has been able to stop Jon Lester’s streak of winning
He’ll try to become the first Red Sox left-handed starter in 40
seasons to open 7-0 – and help Boston win a sixth in a row – on
Monday night against the host Chicago White Sox.
After sitting through a three-hour rain delay in the middle of
the seventh inning Sunday, Boston (27-17) completed a three-game
sweep of Minnesota with a 5-1 victory.
“Even with a three-hour rain delay, they’re rarin’ to go,” said
manager John Farrell, whose team is one-half game behind the New
York Yankees for the AL East lead. “Keeping this group focused, I’m
not going to say is not an issue, but the game is clearly a
priority to them.”
Lester (6-0, 2.72 ERA) will now try to lead Boston to its first
six-game road winning streak since April 23-28, 2012. Chicago ended
that run, and a five-game home skid in this series, the following
day with a 4-1 series-ending victory.
The left-hander, tied with Clay Buchholz for the team lead in
victories, could become the first Red Sox starting left-hander to
begin 7-0 since Roger Moret opened 10-0 as a starter in 1973.
Lester won his second consecutive start on Wednesday, throwing
seven innings of two-run ball in a 9-2 win at Tampa Bay.
Lester, whose 8.15 runs of support per start ranks among the
highest in the majors, was staked to an 8-0 third-inning lead.
“We haven’t been scoring a bunch of runs lately and (the 8-run
inning) takes a lot of pressure off so I could just go out and
execute pitches,” he said after fanning five to move into fifth
place on the team’s all-time strikeout list with 1,110.
He’ll face a White Sox team that’s back in Chicago for 17 of its
next 23 games – includes two at the Cubs next week – after capping
off a 4-3 trip with back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles
“You want to get one of these last two,” manager Robin Ventura
said following Sunday’s 6-2 defeat. “But you keep going.”
The White Sox (19-23) hope Paul Konerko can get going after an
0-for-4 Sunday dropped his average to .224. He has four homers, and
none in his last 15 games. Konerko, though, is 10 for 23 with three
home runs and three doubles off Lester.
Alex Rios, 9 for 38 (.237) with two doubles against the
left-hander, will try to extend his career-best hitting streak to
15 games. Rios and Alexei Ramirez led Chicago on the trip with 11
hits, followed by Adam Dunn’s eight – four of which left the
Chicago opens its eight-game homestand with Dylan Axelrod (1-3,
4.37) trying to win consecutive starts for the first time. The
right-hander shouldn’t have any lingering effects after a right leg
cramp forced him out after throwing 5 1-3 innings of Wednesday’s
9-4 win over the Twins.
Axelrod avoided a third consecutive losing start despite giving
up three runs and a career-worst nine hits.
He is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in his last two starts in Chicago
after posting a 0.77 ERA in his first two at home this season.
Axelrod has made one start versus Boston, striking out a career
high-tying eight in a 5-1 road loss July 16.
The Red Sox have won eight of 10 in this series since losing
seven straight and 14 of 16.