Expectations and overall moral were very high the last time the Red Sox played at Fenway Park, with their five-game homestand capped off by a 4-0 victory at the hands of the Rays that ran the Sox win streak to seven games, with the team playing arguably the best baseball it had all season.
But as the Sox hit the field at Fenway on Thursday for the first time since June 1, the good feelings they built up before they left are gone after a 2-7 road trip that saw them drop back to seven games under .500.
After being swept in Cleveland last week, the Red Sox host the Indians for a four-game set, and Jon Lester, who started the last game the Sox played in Boston, gets the ball for the series opener. In 13 starts this year, Lester holds a 6-7 record with a 3.52 ERA. He got walloped in his last outing, allowing five runs on 12 hits with a walk and no strikeouts in just 4.1 innings against the Tigers on June 7, his shortest start of the season.
Lester has made 13 starts in his career against the Indians, holding a 6-1 record with a 3.43 ERA. He faced Cleveland twice last season, allowing six runs on 14 hits in 14 innings with 13 strikeouts and just two walks.
Of the hitters in Thursday’s Indians lineup, Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana both have hit over .300 with over 10 at bats against Lester in their careers, with Cabrera going 7-for-23 and Santana going 3-for-10. Other Indians who have faced Lester more than 10 times include Ryan Raburn (2-for-12), Michael Brantley (3-for-11), and Mike Aviles (2-for-11).
For Cleveland, Josh Tomlin will be making his seventh start of the season; he’s 3-2 with a 3.13 ERA in six starts this year. He pitched into the ninth inning in his last start, allowing three runs on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts in an 8-3 Indians win over the Texas Rangers.
Tomlin has made four appearances against the Red Sox in his career, holding a 1-1 record with a 7.17 ERA. Facing Tomlin in their careers, Mike Napoli is 2-for-6 with a home run; Dustin Pedroia is 3-for-7; A.J. Pierzynski is 1-for-5; and Jonathan Herrera is 1-for-3. David Ortiz (0-for-9) and Jonny Gomes (0-for-3) have no career hits against Tomlin; Ortiz has reached base once on a walk.