The Red Sox will end their three-game road trip in Chicago on Thursday night when they send southpaw Jon Lester to the mound against White Sox lefty Chris Sale.
While the Red Sox are struggling, Lester is off to a good start. The 30-year-old has a 2.57 ERA and a 1.095 WHIP in three starts. In his first two starts, Lester gave up two earned runs in both games while the Red Sox offense mustered up one total run.
Lester’s only win came on April 11, a 4-2 victory over the Yankees. That day he went 6 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a home run while walking two and striking out seven.
“I don’t feel like I threw the ball as well as the first two [games], but sometimes you need games like this to make you appreciate the ones where you glide through it,” Lester said after that game. “I’ll take a win any way I can. This was just a little bit of a grinder.”
Lester has appeared in and started 10 games against the White Sox, going 4-5. His first start against Chicago came in 2006, where he recorded a win after pitching six innings and giving up two runs.
Since then, his results have been mixed against the White Sox. In 2009, Lester had a 1.98 ERA and a 0.878 WHIP in two starts, striking out 14 batters in 13 2/3 innings. 2010 was a lot tougher for the lefty as he lasted only four innings, giving up eight runs and walking five in his only start against the team. His most recent game was in 2013, when he went six innings and gave up six runs (five earned) and picked up the loss.
Sale has been lights out for the White Sox, owning a perfect 3-0 record in his first three starts with a 2.66 ERA and a 0.934 WHIP. The 25-year-old has yet to give up a home run and has walked four and struck out 19. He only last five innings in his last start, a 9-6 victory over Cleveland on April 11, giving up three runs on six hits while striking out five and walking two.
The southpaw has made five appearances against the Red Sox, two in 2010 and three in 2011, all out of the bullpen. In those five appearances, Sale pitched a total of 5 2/3 innings, never giving up a run, walking three and striking out six batters. He recorded a win in 2010 and a save in 2011. Sale didn’t become a starter for the White Sox until 2012, meaning Thursday’s matchup will be his first start against the Red Sox.
Red Sox vs. Sale (LHP)
Jonny Gomes (6 plate appearances): .167 AVG/.167 OBP/.667 SLG, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Mike Napoli (6): .167/.167/.167, 2 strikeouts
Ryan Roberts (5): .000/.400/.000, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
David Ortiz (4): .250/.250/.250, 1 strikeout
A.J. Pierzynski has a strikeout in three plate appearances vs. Sale.
Mike Carp has a strikeout in one plate appearance.
Jonathan Herrera has a walk in one plate appearance.
Daniel Nava has a strikeout in one plate appearance.
Grady Sizemore has a strikeout in one plate appearance.
Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Dustin Pedroia and David Ross have not faced Sale.
White Sox vs. Lester (LHP)
Paul Konerko (29 plate appearances): .400 AVG/.483 OBP/.880 SLG, 3 doubles, 3 home runs, 7 RBIs, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Alexei Ramirez (27): .240/.296/.320, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Alejandro De Aza (12): .273/.333/.545, 3 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Adam Dunn (12): .250/.500/.625, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts
Dayan Viciedo (11): .455/.455/.818, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 3 strikeouts
Tyler Flowers (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 strikeout
Jose Abreu, Jordan Danks, Adam Eaton, Leury Garcia, Conor Gillaspie, Adrian Nieto and Marcus Semien have not faced Lester.