Left-hander Jon Lester is penciled in as the Boston Red Sox's starter for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, but manager John Farrell is not ready to write the lineup card in ink.
The ALCS opens Saturday at Fenway Park, with the Red Sox taking on the Oakland A's or the Detroit Tigers. Detroit plays at Oakland in Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Thursday.
"We'll probably lead off with Lester," Farrell said Wednesday on WEEI radio. "After that, we'll take a look at some things."
In Boston's four-game win over the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, Lester pitched the opener, allowing two runs in 7 2/3 innings. Three right-handers followed him in the Boston rotation against the Rays: John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy.
Lester made two starts against Oakland this year, going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. He won both of his starts against Detroit while compiling a 4.26 ERA.
For his career, Lester is 4-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 12 starts against the A's, 2-2 with a 4.63 ERA in seven starts against the Tigers.
Farrell acknowledged that Lackey's success at Fenway Park could weigh into the choice of a Game 2 starter. In 13 home starts this year, Lackey went 6-3 with a 2.47 ERA. He finished 4-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 16 road starts. Lackey allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings but earned the win in Game 2 of the ALDS in Boston.