Based on the way Jon Lester has pitched of late and fared against NL opponents in his career, the Boston Red Sox would appear to have a good chance to continue their success during interleague play.
Looking for a third straight winning start, Lester tries to help the Red Sox to a seventh consecutive interleague victory Friday night against the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks.
At 7-2 and with 11 interleague games remaining, Boston (66-44) appears in good position to record a ninth straight winning season against NL opponents. The Red Sox have batted .376 with 31 extra-base hits while outscoring their last six interleague opponents 39-13.
Boston’s also averaged 6.0 runs during a five-game home winning streak against Arizona (55-53).
Lester (10-6, 4.27 ERA) is 11-5 with a 3.04 ERA in 22 interleague starts, and though he’s 0-2 in his last four against the NL at Fenway Park, the left-hander has posted a 3.10 ERA during that stretch. Lester allowed a run in seven innings of a 2-1 walkoff victory over San Diego on July 3.
He yielded a two-run homer and three other hits in seven innings of a 6-2 win over visiting Arizona in 2010.
Lester has given up two runs over 13 1-3 innings of his last two outings overall, allowing four hits over seven in Sunday’s 5-0 victory at Baltimore.
“A Jon Lester pitching to his capabilities is going to be one of the better pitchers in the league,” manager John Farrell told the Red Sox’s official website. “He’s shown it the last couple of times out.”
Owner of a one-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East, Boston looks for a fourth consecutive win after it scored six times in the ninth to beat Seattle 8-7 on Thursday. Daniel Nava delivered a deep game-winning single less than 24 hours after the Red Sox won 5-4 in 15 innings early Thursday morning.
“We don’t quit. Ever,” said Farrell, whose team has a major-league high 11 walkoff victories. “We truly believe we have a chance to do something special on a given night or given year. And that happens to be this year.”
Shane Victorino drove in three runs Thursday and went 7 for 15 in the series after going 4 for 29 in the previous seven contests.
Victorino has hit .381 (8 for 21) during interleague play this season.
Teammate Dustin Pedroia is batting .394 with a homer and 11 RBIs against NL opponents this year. He’s 2 for 2 with a double against scheduled Arizona starter Randall Delgado (3-3, 2.85), who has thrown 14 2-3 scoreless innings while winning two straight starts.
The right-hander recorded his first career complete game while pitching a three-hitter in last Friday’s 10-0 victory over San Diego.
“This is what he’s been building up toward,” manager Kirk Gibson said about Delgado, who went 5-10 with a 3.98 ERA in 24 starts the past two seasons for Atlanta before being dealt to Arizona in the Justin Upton deal.
Delgado hopes this trip to Fenway goes better than his first one last year when he allowed four runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings of an 8-4 loss.
Aside from a 7-0 win at Tampa Bay on Wednesday, the Diamondbacks have totaled six runs during four losses over a five-game stretch.
All-Star Paul Goldschmidt is 3 for 28 with 12 strikeouts in his last seven games.