Interleague Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, June 18th (All times eastern)
Milwaukee Brewers (39-32) at Boston Red Sox (42-27), 1:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Milwaukee - Randy Wolf (4-4, 3.20) Boston - John Lester (9-2, 3.73)
(Sports Network) - The Boston Red Sox have clearly hit their stride, and they aim for yet another victory this afternoon as a three-game weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers continues at Fenway Park.
Boston won eight of nine games during its just-completed swing and improved to 11-1 over its last 12 overall contests with Thursday's 4-2 victory at Tampa Bay. The 8-1 record on the trek was the Red Sox' best of a road trip of nine games or more since they went 9-0 on a sequence of away tilts during the 1977 season.
Add last night's 10-4 romp over Milwaukee to the mix and there is no question that the AL East-leading Red Sox are playing their best ball of the season.
In what figures to be a strong pitching matchup, Milwaukee will send Randy Wolf to the mound today. Wolf is 4-4 this season with a solid 3.20 ERA, and the team has won four straight games in which the veteran started heading into Monday's game against the Cubs. The crafty lefty was impressive at Wrigley, hurling seven scoreless innings, but a lack of run support prevented Wolf from earning the victory.
Wolf has faced Boston five times in his career and is 2-1 with a 2.73 ERA against the Brewers.
As for Boston, it will give the ball to John Lester this afternoon. The stud lefty was utterly dominant against Toronto, permitting only one run on two hits in eight innings. He struck out eight batters in that tilt and is now a stellar 9-2 with a 3.73 ERA.
Lester has never faced Milwaukee in his career. He is one of four hurlers with nine wins and will try to become the majors' first 10-game winner.
Last night, Adrian Gonzalez finished 3-for-4 with a double and the go-ahead home run in the fifth inning. Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew each drove in two runs, while Jacoby Ellsbury homered and David Ortiz collected three hits and an RBI for the Red Sox, who have won three in a row.
John Lackey (5-5) worked eight innings for the win, yielding eight hits and four runs with five strikeouts.
"It's fun to pitch here for sure, but we've got to swing the bats," Lackey said. "That's one thing you hang your hat on when you're out there if you give up a couple runs, just hang in there because the boys are coming, they can really swing it."
Casey McGehee drove in two runs and Prince Fielder had two hits and an RBI for the Brewers, losers in four of their last five.
Marco Estrada (1-4) allowed three runs on four hits with two walks in four relief frames. Shaun Marcum started but recorded only three outs, charged with four hits and two runs on 44 pitches. He left the game with a left hip flexor strain.
"I think anytime you lose a guy that has been as good as him in a ballgame that early against a great team, yeah it's tough," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
The Red Sox are in first place in the AL East, 2 1/2 games up on the Yankees.
As for Milwaukee, it remains atop the NL Central standings, clinging to a one- game lead over the struggling Cardinals.
Milwaukee is seeking its first victory in Boston since Sept. 5, 1997, when the Brewers then still resided in the AL. The Red Sox swept a three-game set between the teams in Fenway during the 2008 season.
06/18 10:43:45 ET