Published January 13, 2015
Cliff Lee will try to help Philadelphia escape Boston with a much-needed victory on Tuesday when the Phillies visit the Red Sox for a second straight night.
Lee will take the mound in the second of four straight meetings between the clubs. Boston will visit Philadelphia for back-to-back games beginning on Wednesday.
The left-hander stands a good chance at earning his club a split, having won three straight decisions over his last four starts with a 1.16 earned run average in that span. He fired his 12th career shutout on Wednesday, holding the Miami Marlins to three hits and two walks in a 3-0 win.
Lee also struck out five in his 27th career complete game, moving to 5-2 through 10 starts this season with a 2.48 earned run average.
"I feel like I got better as the game went on," Lee, who also went 2-for-4 at the plate, told the Phillies' website. "The last three innings, I felt as good as I have in a long time. Hit the ball right where I wanted. The first six innings was kind of trying to mix speeds and locate somewhat, but I just felt more crisp after the sixth."
The 34-year-old has made 12 previous starts versus the Red Sox, going 3-5 with a 3.81 ERA.
Boston took the opener of this series 9-3, but will need Ryan Dempster to rebound tonight if it plans on stretching its winning streak to five straight.
The 36-year-old righty is 0-3 over his past four starts and has given up 15 runs in his last three appearances for a 10.66 ERA. Dempster lasted a season- low three innings on Thursday in a 12-3 loss to Cleveland, charged with four runs on five hits and four walks.
Dempster is 2-5 with a 4.69 ERA in 10 starts this season and holds career marks of 5-5 with a pair of saves and 5.27 ERA in 24 meetings with Philadelphia, including 17 starts.
Pitching with a lead could help Dempster. It certainly paid off for the Red Sox on Monday as Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer and Mike Napoli added a solo shot in the first inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury recorded three hits, an RBI, and a run scored, while Stephen Drew drove in a pair of runs and scored twice for Boston, which has won 10 of its past 13 and leads the New York Yankees by a game for first place in the AL East.
Right-hander Clay Buchholz was slated to start Monday's opener for Boston, but was scratched due to collarbone and AC joint irritation. Alfredo Aceves filled in admirably, allowing just one run on seven hits and three walks over six innings.
"He took tonight as an opportunity to make an impression," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Aceves. "He made a solid one."
Phils Starter Tyler Cloyd, meanwhile, was tagged for six runs on nine hits in just 2 1/3 frames to absorb the loss, Philadelphia's third in its last four games.
"Command for me, in my view, wasn't there at all tonight," Cloyd admitted. "My ball was up and I couldn't get ahead of hitters."
Erik Kratz smacked a solo shot and Domonic Brown added a two-run blast to account for the Phillies' offense. Brown leads the club with 10 homers and 29 RBI.
Boston won two of three in Philadelphia a season ago and the clubs are meeting at Fenway Park for the first time since 2010.