Thursday, June 6, 2013
Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Jon Lester
By Todd Wills
BOSTON -- The Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox finish off a three-game series Thursday night with a showdown of left-handers as Derek Holland takes the mound against Jon Lester at 6:10 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM (1540-AM in Spanish).
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.