The Red Sox are coming off their AL-leading 50th win of the season while the Padres are once again working to get back to .500 and bounce back from their disappointing four-game set in Miami. Robbie Erlin will get the call in the series opener. He'll try to put an end to San Diego's losing streak after putting up quality starts in each of his two previous outings. In his most recent, he allowed three runs (one unearned) on four hits in 6 1/3 innings of work while collecting seven strikeouts and only issuing one walk.
Erlin will face a tough test in Jacoby Ellsbury, who is riding an 11-game hitting streak during which he's batting .404 with seven RBI and nine runs scored. He has thrived in interleague play lately, hitting .475 and racking up seven steals in his last nine against NL teams. He and the Red Sox lead the majors in runs scored this season and they'll try to add to that total tonight.
The Red Sox will send John Lackey to the hill. Lackey is experiencing a resurgence after having to miss last season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. With the injury to Clay Buchholz and the disappointing season by Jon Lester, he has had to step it up as a part of the Red Sox rotation. And he has done just that. Coming off three straight seven-inning two-run starts, he will be looking to have a better outing than his last meeting with the Padres in 2011. He yielded five runs on three hits and three walks and was pulled after just 3 1/3 innings.
Lackey helped the Padres out in his last start by keeping the Rockies to two runs on eight hits in seven innings while tying his career-high of twelve strikeouts. He's been fantastic in five starts (33 innings) at home this season, going 3-1 and posting a 1.36 ERA with 37 total strikeouts. He is 4-1 with a 2.44 ERA in his last eight starts overall.
Carlos Quentin will try to build on his past success against Lackey. He is a lifetime 8-for-13 with four homers and seven RBI. The newest Padre, Pedro Ciriaco, will face his former team for the first time since being acquired by San Diego on June 14th. In his 15 appearances (13 starts) for the Padres, he is batting .271 with a home run and four RBI. He struggled in Miami, going 1-for-11 in the first three games of the series before taking the day off in the finale.