Franklin Morales makes a spot start in place of Josh Beckett this evening, as the Boston Red Sox conclude a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Beckett was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with right shoulder inflammation.
"He's got some inflammation that's got to calm down and take the time, whatever time it takes to do it," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "We thought in between starts was enough, and he could have gotten an extra day or two [of rest] I guess, but we're going to take the conservative route."
So, tonight it will be Morales, who has made 22 appearances out of the bullpen for the Red Sox this season and hasn't started a game since 2009 while with the Colorado Rockies. He is 0-1 this season with a 3.04 ERA.
"I'm going to try to do what I can do, I try to control what I can control, throw strikes and try to get the hitter out," Morales said.
Morales will try to pitch the Red Sox to a series win after they evened this set at a game apiece on Saturday. Jon Lester snapped his four-start winless streak and Jarrod Saltalamacchia belted a two-run homer powered Boston to a 4-3 win.
It was the first time in his career that Saltalamacchia had batted cleanup.
"Sometimes crazy times ask for crazy measures," said Valentine of his reasoning hitting Saltalamacchia in the cleanup spot. "I saw his average go from .280 to .250-something and the team (was) losing and he's dragging his head a little. I thought that was a way to make him understand that I believe in him."
Lester (4-4) held the Cubs scoreless through the opening six frames on five hits before the home team touched him up for three runs in the seventh. In all, the southpaw fanned eight while scattering seven hits and walking one in 6 2/3 innings.
Sitting a season-high three games over .500 (28-25) on June 2, the Red Sox mustered just their fourth win in 12 tries since.
Luis Valbuena smacked a three-run shot while Jeff Samardzija (5-5) struck out six and surrendered three runs on four hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings for the Cubs, who have dropped three of their last four.
"I really took my time out there, went pitch to pitch and I felt great," said Samardzija of his outing.
The loss dropped the Cubs to 3-14 this season against left-handers. Not a good sign since they will be facing another southpaw tonight in Morales.
Tonight, the Cubs will rely on lefty Paul Maholm, who is 4-5 on the year, but is winless in his last six starts. Maholm did not get a decision on Tuesday against Detroit, but pitched well, surrendering two runs and six hits in six innings of his team's 4-2 win.
He beat the Red Sox the only other time he faced them.
Boston is 2-3 all-time at Wrigley Field.