There’s little at stake at Fenway Park for the rest of this weekend, but the playoff-bound Boston Red Sox would love to get more good news about their pitching.
The left hander allowed two hits in 6 1-3 innings just one start after he took a line drive off his leg and had to leave a game in New York. Lester could pitch Game 1 for the Red Sox (92-67) against the Los Angeles Angels in the division series.
“We were really happy,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t think we thought it was an issue. We wouldn’t have allowed him to pitch. It was really nice to see him pitch as well as he did for a lot of reasons.”
Although Francona hasn’t yet announced a postseason rotation, Matsuzaka (3-6, 6.08 ERA) appears to have locked up a spot after his strong recent run. He lost in the Bronx on Saturday, but he held the powerful Yankees to one run in seven innings of the 3-0 defeat.
“I don’t think my pitching was entirely bad,” Matsuzaka said through a translator. “It was a step in the right direction.”
A strong September from the Japanese right-hander was a welcome sight for Boston after most of his season was marred by injury and struggles. He was activated Sept. 15 and has gone 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA in three starts.
Matsuzaka’s last appearance against Cleveland was a win in Game 7 of the 2007 AL championship series. He pitched five innings in Boston’s 11-2 victory.
The Indians (65-94) have been headed downhill since then, and Wedge’s seven-year run as manager was terminated Wednesday, although he will remain at the helm through this series.
Cleveland has been blanked in back-to-back games and is 7-23 since Aug. 30 - the worst record in the majors over that span. The club, currently tied with Kansas City, is trying to avoid a last-place finish in the AL Central.
Sowers has never faced Victor Martinez(notes), his former teammate who was traded to Boston on July 31. In his first game against Cleveland, Martinez, was 2 for 4 on Friday and is batting .335 since joining the Red Sox.