A.J. Burnett (NYY) vs. Jon Lester (BOS)
First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. at Fenway Park.
Burnett went 13-9 with a 4.04 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 207 innings last season. Opponents batted just .247 against him, but a career-high 97 walks led to a 1.40 WHIP, his worst since 2003. Burnett also hit 10 batters and had career highs in homers allowed (25) and wild pitches (17). Really, his peripheral numbers didn’t jibe with his ERA. Nevertheless, record and ERA-wise, he had a quality season.
Though he’s struggled with consistency for much of his career, Burnett is one of the most talented pitchers in the league. The 33-year-old features a four-seam fastball that usually sits between 93-95 and touches 97 mph occasionally, and a “12-6” power curveball. He also has a slider and changeup, but seldom uses them.
In four starts against the Red Sox last year, he was 0-2 with a 8.85 ERA. Boston hit .291 against him, he walked 16 and allowed six home runs in 20 1/3 innings. He last faced them on Aug. 22, yielding nine earned runs on nine hits and three homers in five innings of a 14-1 loss.
Lester was 15-8 with a 3.41 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 203.1 innings last year. He held opponents to a .242 average and had a 1.23 WHIP. With a 31-14 record and 3.31 ERA the last two seasons, following his treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the 26-year-old has emerged as one of the better lefties in the league.
Lester’s repertoire includes a fastball that’s usually at 94-95, sometimes hitting 97 mph, a hard cutter he uses against right-handers, a changeup and a diving curve.
He was 1-1 with a 4.43 ERA in four starts against the Yankees in 2009. They hit .283 with four homers off him in 22 1/3 innings. His last start against New York was on Sept. 25, when he gave up eight hits, three walks and five earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of a 9-5 Red Sox loss.