Jon Lester will stay in Red Sox rotation to face Yankees

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Following his latest ugly outing Sunday there was speculation that Boston would remove Jon Lester from the rotation, but instead the Red Sox will keep him on schedule to start again Saturday and simply adjust his between-starts routine a bit.

In what manager Bobby Valentine called “a nice proactive plan” Lester will prepare for Saturday’s start by throwing a simulated game Wednesday instead of his usual bullpen session.

Not only was Sunday’s start the worst of Lester’s career with 11 runs in four innings, he’s allowed 22 runs in 12.1 innings over his last three starts and now has a 5.46 ERA in 120 innings overall.

Valentine told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that Lester insists he “feels great and is throwing the ball as well as he’s thrown the ball in a couple of years.” Saturday will be a helluva test for that, as Lester will face the Yankees, in New York.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.