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Fenway a sore spot for Jackson

Posted by Tony Massarotti, Globe Staff  September 8, 2008 05:13 PM

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Pardon the headline, but we're not talking about the classic look-alike here. Rather, it's a pitch-alike.

Has anyone ever seen Edwin Jackson and John Lackey on the same mound?

With the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays set to open a three-game series tonight, we'd thought we'd take this brief pregame opportunity to focus on Rays starter Jackson, who will oppose Jon Lester. Jackson is 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA against the Sox this season, but he also pitched a terrific game against Boston earlier in the season, albeit at Tropicana Field.

At Fenway, Jackson is 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in his career.

Just the same, Jackson can be overpowering, which means he's capable of a great game at any time. As one would expect, he's been better this season against righthanded batters (a .259 average) than lefthanders (.279), though David Ortiz is hitting .455 against him. Jackson has given up a team-high 19 home runs and sometimes struggles with command, which explains why he walks close to four batters per nine innings. Against the Sox, that could be suicidal.

The point? Pay particular attention to Jackson's ability to throw strikes and command his pitches, especially early. If he's missing his spots, he could be in for a long night against a Sox lineup that has been quite proficient lately, especially at home.

More later.

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About Mazz

Tony Massarotti is a Globe sportswriter and has been writing about sports in Boston for the last 19 years. A lifelong Bostonian, Massarotti graduated from Waltham High School and Tufts University. He was voted the Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year by his peers in 2000 and 2008 and has been a finalist for the award on several other occasions. This blog won a 2008 EPpy award for "Best Sports Blog".

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