All eyes will be on Boston right-hander Josh Beckett this evening when the Red Sox open a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.
Beckett hasn't pitched since a loss to the Chicago White Sox back on April 29 dropped him to 2-3 on the season. He matched a career-high with 126 pitches in that one and had to miss his next start with what the team called soreness in his right side.
However, reports in Boston had him healthy enough to play golf on the team's off day last Thursday with teammate Clay Buchholz.
"He had a sore lat," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "He wasn't an injured player, I know that. We'll take it from there. But I'm sure that Josh wouldn't do anything that's going to jeopardize his team or his season, I know that."
Beckett, who has pitched to a 4.45 ERA this season, is 4-5 lifetime against the Indians with a 4.84 ERA.
The Red Sox are reeling again and come into tonight's tilt having lost two of three to Kansas City and seven of eight overall after a 4-3 loss to the Royals on Wednesday.
Jon Lester (1-3) gave up four runs -- one earned -- on six hits and a walk through five innings, while Adrian Gonzalez drove in all three runs for Boston, which will be starting a six-game homestand tonight against a familiar face in Derek Lowe.
The Red Sox, though, have dropped five in a row at Fenway and haven't lost six straight there since April 6-19, 2010.
Lowe, who compiled 75 wins and 80 saves in seven seasons for Boston, including the epic championship campaign of 2004, has been terrific for the Tribe this season, going 4-1 with a 2.39 ERA.
He's only faced the Red Sox one time and lost to them as a member of the Atlanta Braves back in 2009.
The Indians also enter this series on a sour note after losing the final two games of their four-game set with the Chicago White Sox, including an 8-1 setback in Wednesday's finale at Progressive Field.
Jeanmar Gomez (2-2) was shelled for nine hits and eight runs over 6 2/3 innings.
Cleveland was 6-4 last season versus the Red Sox.