Lackey looks to get on track for Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox bring the best record in the American League into their matchup against the Cleveland Indians Monday night on ESPN (7 ET). Boston’s starters have picked up 49 wins on the season, tied with the Texas Rangers for the second-most in the AL (New York Yankees lead with 51).

Cleveland led the AL Central for the majority of the first half of the year but now finds itself in second place in the division, and heads to Boston on a slide (2-8 in their last 10 games). The Indians are hoping the trade for Ubaldo Jimenez provides a spark to a starting rotation that has allowed 13 ER and 5 HR over its last three games.

John Lackey Opponent BA
By Count This Season

On the Mound

John Lackey takes the mound tonight for Boston looking to decrease an ERA (6.20) that is the worst in the majors among MLB pitchers with at least 15 starts. Lackey has had success this year getting ahead of batters in the count. His first-pitch strike percentage is 61.7 percent, compared to the league average of 59.3 percent.

The first batter of the game has reached base 11 times out of 17 plate appearances against Lackey this season. And he’s allowed 15 first-inning runs in 17 starts.

Josh Tomlin, who has pitched at least 5.0 innings in each of his first 33 career starts (the third-longest streak to start a career among pitchers who debuted in 1900 or later), has allowed 18 HR this season. The HR differential against him at home vs on the road is significant - one HR allowed per 9 innings at home; one HR allowed per 6 innings on the road.

And it’s specific to left-handed hitters.

Left-handed hitters have two HR in 133 at-bats against Tomlin in Cleveland. They have seven in 134 at-bats against him on the road.

In contrast to Lackey, the first batter of the game is just 3-for-21 against Tomlin this season. He’s only allowed four runs in the first inning all season.

The Matchup

The Indians are 4-2 against the Red Sox this season. They haven’t won more than four games against the Red Sox in a regular season since 2001 (six wins).