“There probably won’t be a lot of runs on the board,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “You’re going to see two of the best. If I was a fan, I’d pay because you’re going to see two of the better arms in the game.”
The hard-throwing right-handers are enjoying the best years of their careers.
Beckett (10-1, 3.14 ERA) has won all five of his road starts, posting a 1.59 ERA. He bounced back from his only loss of the season by yielding four hits over six innings in a 4-0 victory at Atlanta on Tuesday.
Peavy (9-1, 1.98) owns the second-best ERA in baseball behind Oakland’s Dan Haren, and leads the NL with 110 strikeouts. He is also tied with Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Brad Penny for the most wins in the league.
Peavy, who led the NL with a 2.27 ERA in 2004, and 216 strikeouts in 2005, is on pace to better both marks. He’s 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last nine outings and has allowed just one home run all season.
“I honestly can’t remember 2004 or 2005,” Peavy said. “I know I had some good runs at it, but I’ve felt good this whole season.”
While Peavy has never faced Boston (47-26), he has dominated J.D. Drew. The Red Sox outfielder - and former division rival with the Dodgers - is 1-for-14 with six strikeouts against him.
Beckett, meanwhile, is 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in five starts against San Diego - all from his days in the NL with Florida.
The Red Sox will try to reach Peavy one day after striking out 11 times against Padres starter Chris Young in a 6-1 loss. They had a season-high 13 strikeouts in all Saturday, losing for only the second time in eight games.
Boston has scored just three total runs and recorded 12 hits - none of them homers - in splitting the first two games of the series.
San Diego (42-31) didn’t homer in a 2-1 loss on Friday, but made up for it by connecting three times in Saturday’s win. Shortstop Khalil Greene homered twice and former Red Sox catcher Josh Bard added a two-run shot in the sixth inning.
Bard’s ball off the foul pole was originally ruled foul before it was correctly changed to a home run. The ruling prompted Francona to argue the call after the second reversal that went against his team and he was ejected for the second time this season.
“I have a feeling they probably ended up getting both right,” Francona said. “But you get frustrated. … When umpires confer like that you actually appreciate it because some are going to be in your favor.”
San Diego ended a three-game losing streak in which it scored just five runs. The Padres also moved back into first place in the NL West, percentage points ahead of Arizona.
Greene posted his sixth career multihomer game and is batting .348 (23-for-66) with 15 RBIs over his last 16 contests.
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who hasn’t gone hitless in any series this year, is 0-for-6 with two walks in the series.
Shortstop Julio Lugo is hitless in his last 23 at-bats to drop his season average to .196, the lowest among major league qualifiers.