The Padres are 2-8 over their last ten games and come into tonight's contest having lost four straight for the first time since April. They will try to get back on track behind Edinson Volquez, who is coming off one of his best starts of the year. He held the Marlins to just two runs on seven hits while striking out eight through six innings of work to earn his sixth win of 2013. Volquez has had a rough season to say the least, but has pitched well lately, going 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA over his last four starts. In that stretch, he has collected 30 strikeouts to lead the team with 79 overall this season. In his only career start against the Red Sox, he got a no-decision after tossing seven frames and allowing three runs (two earned) while pitching for Cincinnati.
The Red Sox will counter with Jon Lester, who will make his first career start against the Friars. After going 6-0 over his first nine starts this season, Lester has gone 2-4 in his last eight. His most recent outing was encouraging to begin with, as he retired his first 10 batters and limited Toronto to two runs on three hits through his first seven innings on the mound. But in the 8th, he gave up back-to-back leadoff singles followed by a 3-0 count in the next at-bat, during which he sustained a minor hip injury. He exited the game at that point and was fortunate to have recovered quickly afterwards.
Lester faces a Padres team that has hit just .220 as a club over their 2-8 slump and have put together only four runs over their last four games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox haven't had too much offensive trouble lately, averaging 5.9 runs and 11.7 hits in a seven-game stretch. Yesterday Jacoby Ellsbury extended his team-high hitting streak to 12 games by going 2-for-4 against Padres pitching. We'll see if Volquez can keep him and the rest of the Red Sox lineup off the bases, and if San Diego can put together a respectable offensive showing, to avoid a season-high-tying five-game losing streak.