The month of April hasn't been kind to the Boston Red Sox of late. At 11-13, Sox fans can hardly be thrilled with how the season has started out. But, with two more games left before May begins, the Sox can salvage a .500 record in the month--a better figure than last year's 11-12 mark.
To do so, though, they'll need to take out a Mariners team that, while off to a worse start than the Sox, is fresh off a dominating sweep of the Detroit Tigers. And they'll need to do so with John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Clay Buchholz on the mound.
Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
Friday, April 29, 7:10 p.m.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-2, 4.09 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (0-2, 5.53 ERA)
Don't let Vargas' ERA fool you--while he's been inconsistent so far this year, on any given night this lefty can lock down a lineup pretty well. In that respect, he's very similar to the Daisuke Matsuzaka we've seen so far in 2011. Even with the disparities in the lineups, this game really could just come down to who's on and who's not.
Saturday, April 30, 7:10 p.m.
John Lackey (2-2, 6.35 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (1-3, 3.19 ERA)
His season stats certainly don't reflect it just yet, but John Lackey has been on something of a roll of late. There are two ways to interpret it: he's on a hot streak, or he's over the problems that plagued him to start the year and could be on the comeback trail many expected out of him before the season.
Lackey, of course, has tons of experience against the Mariners having spent most of his career in the AL West. It hasn't all been good, but generally he's had success against them as well with a 13-9 record and a 3.64 ERA. We'll see how well that holds up in Fenway Park.
Sunday, May 1, 1:35 p.m.
Clay Buchholz (1-3, 5.33 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (3-2, 3.32 ERA)
Clay Buchholz has been struggling to find solid ground this year, but his last game had some good signs, as he finally struck out more batters than he walked. Felix Hernandez, on the other hand, is the same Felix as always: dominating opposing teams, but taking a couple losses thanks to his offense. Whether the Sox can be one of the teams to add to his misfortune remains to be seen.