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Red Sox Vs. Royals Lineups: Jon Lester Returns To The Mound

The Red Sox will welcome back Jon Lester Monday night, as their lefty ace returns to a situations he should be quite comfortable with: in Fenway, against the Royals. Since no-hitting the Royals in Boston back in May of 2008, Lester has faced Kansas City in Fenway park twice more, and was nothing short of dominant each time. 

Tonight, however, he'll have to contend not just with the Royals lineup, but also possibly a decent amount of rust. It's been 20 days since Lester last took the mound on July 5 against the Blue Jays, and while he looked nearly perfect then, three weeks can do a lot to throw a starter off. 

The good news is that he should have relatively little pressure given the Kansas City starter and the lineup he has to face.

Boston Red Sox (62-37)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  5. David Ortiz, DH
  6. Carl Crawford, LF
  7. Josh Reddick, RF
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Marco Scutaro, SS

It won't hurt that the Royals are quite a bit worse against lefties than righties, with an OPS of just .695 against southpaws this year.

Kansas City Royals (42-59)

  1. Alex Gordon, LF
  2. Melky Cabrera, CF
  3. Billy Butler, DH
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
  5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
  6. Mike Aviles, 3B
  7. Brayan Pena, C
  8. Alcides Escobar, SS
  9. Chris Getz, 2B

Pitching Matchup: Jon Lester (10-4, 3.31 ERA) vs. Kyle Davies (1-9, 7.32 ERA)

There's not much to be said about Jon Lester that hasn't already been said here. If he's not suffering from undue rust, the Royals are a team he can beat easily. If it's not enough that the Royals struggle against lefties, they're also one of the worst teams in the league against the cutter, which just so happens to be Jon Lester's bread and butter. On the other hand, if he is rusty, then anything can happen.

Everything that's true for Lester is essentially the opposite for Davies. He starts out with a bad base--his 7.32 ERA should be proof enough of that--adds in difficulties against lefties, which the Sox are of course full of, and tops it off by having to face the best team in the league against the cutter, which happens to be his best pitch as well. Hardly a recipe for success for a pitcher who's giving away runs at an impressive pace.