Unbeaten in his last eight outings and shooting for his third win in as many starts, Matt Clement will try to help the Boston Red Sox complete a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in a battle of AL division leaders.
Clement, acquired this past offseason to fill in the rotation spots vacated by departed free agents Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe, has emerged as one of Boston’s most reliable starters. He leads the staff with a 4.17 ERA and 133 strikeouts, and is second in wins with 13, two behind Tim Wakefield.
Clement is 3-0 in eight starts since a 7-4 loss to the New York Yankees on July 16, and has allowed three earned runs and nine hits over 13 innings in winning his last two outings.
On Saturday, Clement yielded two earned runs and six hits over eight innings in a 7-6 victory over Baltimore. The veteran right-hander, who had spent his previous seven years in the National League, struck out four and walked two, moving within one win of his career-high victory total of 14, set in 2003 with the Chicago Cubs.
“He threw outstanding,” Baltimore’s Melvin Mora said of Clement. “He mixed all of his pitches. The slider was working today (and) he worked out of jams.”
The Red Sox improved to 10-3 on their season-high 14-game homestand with Wednesday’s 6-3 victory. David Ortiz, emerging as the leading candidate in the AL MVP race, drove in a pair of runs for Boston, which maintained its four-game lead over second-place New York in the East.
The Red Sox are a season-high 26 games above .500, and will begin an important three-game set at Yankee Stadium on Friday.
The Angels lost their fifth straight road game and their 11th in their last 12 at Fenway Park. Their AL West lead was cut to a half-game over Oakland, which overcame a four-run, ninth-inning deficit to beat Seattle on Wednesday.