What we're watching: Kawakami vs. Santana

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– Josh Johnson versus Wandy Rodriguez looks like the pitching matchup of the night. The two rank seventh and 11th in the NL in ERA, respectively. Johnson has gone 5-0 in his last six starts to move to 12-2 for the season, but his ERA has actually risen slightly during the span. Rodriguez was on an excellent role himself before giving up 10 runs last time out to take his ERA from 2.51 to 3.05. It was more runs than he had given up in his previous nine starts combined. Working in Rodriguez’s favor tonight is that the Marlins have struggled some against left-handed pitching. The Astros, though, have lost four of six games to the Marlins over the last two weeks.
– The Red Sox go for a big sweep in Toronto with Jon Lester on the mound. Lester has received no-decisions in four straight, though he struggled in only one of those outings. He’s 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA against Toronto this year, with the lone loss coming in a pitchers duel versus Roy Halladay. Fellow lefty Brett Cecil will go for the Jays. He owns a 5-1 record, but that one loss came to the Red Sox, as he gave up eight runs in 4 2/3 innings in Boston on May 20.
Game of the Night
Atlanta vs. New York – After a couple of routs to start the series, the Braves and Mets will play the deciding game tonight. The Mets won Tuesday after an eight-run inning against Derek Lowe, and the Braves destroyed Bobby Parnell as part of a 15-2 game last night. It will be Kenshin Kawakami versus Johan Santana in the finale. Kawakami has lost twice to the Mets despite posting a 3.09 ERA in his two starts. He’s been a victim of poor run support while going 0-3 with a 3.79 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break. Santana also has a history of poor run support against his opponent tonight. Before pitching seven scoreless innings to beat the Braves on July 18 — in a matchup against Kawakami — he had been 0-6 with a 2.31 ERA versus Atlanta.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.