Can Lester keep up string of strong Sox starts?

Can Lester keep up string of strong Sox starts?
May 3, 2014, 12:00 pm
(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON -- When Clay Buchholz limited the A's to just one run over 6.1 innings on Friday night in a 7-1 win, it marked the continuation of a pretty good trend for Red Sox starting pitchers.

It was Boston's 20th quality start (six innings allowing three or less runs)- this season, second in the American League behind only Oakland. And with Buchholz's outing, Red Sox starters have given up three earned runs or less in nine of the last 10 games.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said that the latest run of strong performances is what the team has come to expect from its rotation.

"They're giving us what we expect or anticipate coming out of spring training," Farrell said. "I think when you go back to the turn through the rotation prior to that and it doesnt take place, that to me is more of the surprise. We felt all along that our starting rotation might be the most important area of this team.

"Really for any team to advance in the postseason, you're going to look at the rotation as being a strength or a strong area, and we're gonna need those guys to perform with [consistency]."

The Red Sox trot out Jon Lester to pitch the second game of their series with the A's. Lester pitched seven innings and allowed four earned runs in a 7-1 loss to Toronto in his last start. He carries a 3.10 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 40.2 innings into Saturday.