With another veteran arm now in tow, the Boston Red Sox appear ready to make a run toward October baseball.
The Red Sox target a series win over the Seattle Mariners Wednesday in the middle portion of a three-game set at Fenway Park and bolstered their rotation with the addition of former NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy.
Peavy was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a three-team deal that sent prized shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias to the Detroit Tigers. Boston also dealt minor league pitchers J.B. Wendelken and Francelis Montas and infielder Cleuluis Rondon to the White Sox, while Brayan Villarreal and outfielder Avisail Garcia landed in Beantown from Detroit.
The highly-touted Garcia was then moved to Chicago by Boston.
"We're really excited to bring Jake here," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "He's obviously a proven Major League starter. He's had a ton of success in his career. And I think if there's one thing we wanted to do -- if we could pull it off -- is to add a starting pitcher. As we looked at the next two months, we're in position to compete for a playoff spot and we just felt like adding a starting pitcher was probably the most important thing we could do to protect our chances to do that."
Boston is a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League East lead and is ahead in the AL wild card race. It made sense for the Red Sox to make the deal with ace Clay Buchholz still weeks away from returning to full strength. Ryan Dempster is also dealing with his own aches and pains.
Brandon Workman may get shifted to the bullpen now that Peavy is on board and delivered an admirable outing in Tuesday's 8-2 victory over the Mariners. Workman struck out nine batters, walked one and gave up a run and six hits in six innings of work for his first Major League win in his third start.
"Hopefully tonight is the first of many wins in his career," Boston manager John Farrell said of Workman. "As we've seen in the three starts he's made, once he gets through the first three innings he starts to get a good rhythm going."
Workman got some obvious help from the offense, as Dustin Pedroia and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each hit a two-run homer and Jacoby Ellsbury went deep. Pedroia drove in three runs and Shane Victorino went 3-for-4 with three runs scored for the Red Sox, who have won three of four games and bounced back from a poor call the previous time out in Monday's 2-1 loss to the Rays.
The Red Sox have scored 20 runs in their last three wins.
Red Sox starter John Lackey hopes to end a personal two-start losing streak when he gets the call versus Seattle. Lackey last toed the rubber in Friday's 6-0 setback at Baltimore and was tagged for five runs and nine hits, including three homers over 6 1/3 frames.
The right-handed Lackey, who has lost three of four appearances, is now 7-8 on the season with a 3.19 ERA in 18 starts. Lackey is 4-2 in seven starts at Fenway Park in 2013 and owns a 15-10 record with a 3.61 ERA in 30 career starts against the Mariners.
Seattle kicked off its six-game road trip on the east coast on Tuesday and saw starting pitcher Joe Saunders struggle through five innings. Saunders was hammered for six runs, five of which were earned, and nine hits, including a pair of home runs.
"It didn't look like he had his best stuff out there," Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson said about Saunders. "He just wasn't getting the ball down in the zone and getting some of those calls."
Kendrys Morales and Henry Blanco had an RBI apiece for a Seattle team that is 8 1/2 games out of one of the final two wild card spots in the AL. The Mariners are 15-9 in July and haven't won 16 games in a month since June of the 2007 campaign.
The Mariners have lost four of six games since a season-high eight-game win streak from July 12-23.
Hisashi Iwakuma brings his three-game unbeaten streak into Wednesday's contest for the Mariners and has a 2.25 earned run average during the run. He won his third straight start Thursday in an 8-2 win over Minnesota and struck out nine batters over six scoreless innings, running his mark to 10-4 in 22 starts and lowering his ERA to 2.87.
Iwakuma, who is 5-3 in 10 road starts, faced the Red Sox for the first time in an 11-8 loss on July 9 at Safeco Field. The Japanese right-hander did not factor in the outcome and allowed six runs, eight hits and three home runs in a season-low three innings.
The Mariners have lost four of five to the Red Sox this season.