The Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox have two of majors’ most potent offenses. Given the amount of runs Sunday’s starters have allowed of late, the series finale at Fenway Park may be another high-scoring contest.
Each team has lived up to its run-producing reputation at times through the first two games of the series. AL West-leading Texas (79-61) knocked Boston (84-54) from first place in the East with a 10-0 victory Friday, followed by the Red Sox bouncing back for a 12-7 win Saturday.
Wild card-leading Boston ranks second in the majors in runs scored behind the New York Yankees, one spot ahead of the Rangers. The teams complete their season series Sunday, with the Red Sox looking to even it at five games apiece.
If the season were to end today, Boston would open the playoffs at Texas.
John Lackey(notes) (12-10, 5.94 ERA) will try to help the Red Sox avoid losing consecutive series. He hasn’t allowed less than three runs in a start since giving up one in seven innings of a victory over Seattle on July 22.
Lackey went 3-2 with a 5.31 ERA in six August starts after he allowed five runs - four earned - and walked four in seven innings of a 5-2 loss to the Yankees on Friday.
One of those outings was a win at Texas on Aug. 23, when he gave up four runs in 6 2-3 innings of an 11-5 victory. The right-hander didn’t fare so well in his first start this season against the Rangers, allowing nine runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings of a 12-5 defeat on April 2.
His 35 starts versus the Rangers are his most against any opponent, and his career 6.04 ERA in those games is his worst among the 12 teams he’s faced at least 10 times.
Matt Harrison(notes) (10-9, 3.54) will oppose Lackey in his first start in 10 days. Manager Ron Washington said he wanted to give Harrison a break after the left-hander allowed seven runs and 11 hits in five innings of a 13-2 loss to Boston on Aug. 24, skipping his spot in the rotation.
Harrison hasn’t won since Aug. 8, going 0-1 with a 7.56 ERA in his last four appearances, including three starts. He came out of the bullpen Saturday and pitched two scoreless innings in the Rangers’ 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay.
The left-hander beat the Red Sox 5-1 on April 3, allowing one run and five hits over seven innings. He’s 2-1 with a 7.13 ERA in six appearances - four starts - lifetime versus Boston.
He’ll face a Red Sox lineup which busted out of a two-game slump in which it totaled two runs. Boston scored eight runs in the fourth inning Saturday, with Carl Crawford(notes) hitting a grand slam and Josh Reddick(notes) setting a career high with four hits.
“If you keep giving these guys an opportunity with runners in scoring position, sooner or later they’ll come through and they really did,” Washington said.
Hamilton is hitting .400 during that span and is 4 for 9 through the first two games of the series.