BOSTON, MA - APRIL 30: Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners steals second safely against the Seattle Mariners Marco Scutaro #10 of the Boston Red Sox defends on April 30, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Seattle Mariners defeated the Boston Red Sox 2-0. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Red Sox will welcome the Mariners into Fenway Park for a quick two-game set in Boston. Jon Lester and Josh Beckett will get the starts, looking to match the performances the back end of the rotation provided over the weekend.
The Red Sox will welcome the Seattle Mariners to Fenway Park Monday night for a quick two-game series.
For the Sox, it's a chance to continue a rare hot streak against one of the weaker teams in the major leagues. Over the last three games, the Sox have played some of the best all-around baseball that we've seen out of them this year, defeating the Indians in three straight games by a composite score of 23-7.
Now, they'll turn to a struggling top-half of the rotation to keep the good times rolling.
Boston Red Sox (15-19) vs. Seattle Mariners (16-20)
Monday, May 14, 7:10 p.m. EST
Jon Lester (1-3, 4.29 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (4-2, 2.79 ERA)
While Jon Lester has seen his ERA drop from 4.65 to 4.29 over his last two starts, they haven't really been him at his best. After struggling with his control against the Orioles, Lester struggled to keep runners off the basepaths and, with his defense struggling behind him, saw four runs (if only one earned) cross the plate in his five innings on the mound. The good news for Lester is that the Mariners are just as bad against lefties as they are against righties, so they shouldn't give him too much hassle.
Jason Vargas, meanwhile, is a junkballer the likes of which the Sox have destroyed of late. If they can just be patient, work long at bats, and wait for their pitch, it should come, and they should be able to hit it a long way.
Tuesday, May 15, 4:05 p.m. EST
Josh Beckett (2-4, 5.97 ERA) vs. Blake Beavan (1-3, 4.32 ERA)
Oh what a difference two starts can make. Sandwiched in between outings of seven earned runs a piece for Beckett are four starts that had the Texan righty looking like the most consistent pitcher on the team. Unfortunately, between the terrible show that was his last start, the overblown golf narrative, and some ill-advised postgame comments, Beckett has now become persona non grata in Boston. Such is the changeability of the Sox fanbase with Beckett, where every year he goes from hero to villain or vice versa. Given a few strong starts, he'll be right back in Fenway's good graces. But first he has to get there, which hasn't always proven possible in these even-numbered years...
For a man with a fastball in the low 90s, Beavan certainly pitches like he sits in the mid 80s. He strikes out no one, he walks even fewer. In some parks that may be tenable. In Fenway? Perhaps not...