Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Jon Lester
Holland (5-2, 2.81 ERA): Holland has won a season-high four straight decisions, his longest personal streak since he won five straight decisions toward the end of the 2012 season. Holland was 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in May, and the Rangers won all six of his starts. He has seven quality starts, one behind Yu Darvish for the team lead. Holland has made seven of the Rangers' 17 starts that have gone seven innings or more. Holland currently ranks 10th in the American League in ERA and 12th in strikeouts with 72. He is allowing only .49 home runs per nine innings and hasn't given up a home run to a left-handed hitter since Seattle's Dustin Ackley took him deep May 30, 2012. Holland has a five-game winning streak against the Red Sox, matching Gavin Floyd as the only active pitchers to have won five straight starts versus Boston. He is 5-1 with 2.41 ERA in six starts overall against the Red Sox.
Lester (6-2, 3.53 ERA): Lester has lost his past two decisions after opening the season with a 6-0 record. He has 6.05 ERA over his past three starts, allowing 13 runs in 19 ⅓ innings and walking nine during the stretch. Lester's ERA was 2.72 before his recent slide. He has thrown at least 100 pitches in each of his past 11 starts and is averaging 109.6 pitches per start, which leads all AL pitchers and is just ahead of Darvish, who is averaging 108.4 pitches per game. Lester lost to the New York Yankees in his last start Friday, allowing four runs in six innings. He allowed four walks, his second-highest total of the season. Lester took a no-decision in his only start against the Rangers this season, allowing three runs in six innings on May 5. Lester is 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA at Fenway Park this season and is 3-3 with a 4.57 ERA in 11 career starts versus the Rangers.
Hitters: Rangers right-fielder Nelson Cruz (10-for-19, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs) has dominated Lester, and Adrian Beltre (7-for-22, 3 RBIs) has put up solid numbers against him. Pedro Ciriaco (3-for-7) and former Ranger Mike Napoli (3-for-9, 1 HR, 2 RBIs) have hit well against Holland.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.