The Boston Red Sox's John Lackey is in the midst of his most successful stretch of the year. Given his impressive numbers against the Seattle Mariners, he seems to be in good position of extending his season-best run.
Seeking a sixth straight winning decision, Lackey looks to help visiting Boston regroup from a rare road loss as it opens a three-game set with Seattle on Friday night.The AL-leading Red Sox, who own the league's best road record at 35-22, entered Wednesday winners of four straight and 12 of 15 as visitors before falling 5-2 at Minnesota."You just focus on this series," said Adrian Gonzalez, mired in a 5-for-24 (.208) funk over his last six games. "We won this series and now we focus on winning a series in Seattle now."Boston (72-44) surely likes its chances of at least taking the first game with Lackey taking the hill. The right-hander improved to 5-0 with a 3.58 ERA over his last six starts after limiting the New York Yankees to three runs and six hits in six innings of Saturday's 10-4 win.Lackey (10-8, 6.14 ERA) has also enjoyed plenty of success against the Mariners of late, going 9-2 with a 1.95 ERA over his 12 most recent outings. He has been even more impressive at Seattle, going 5-0 with a 1.45 ERA during his last six visits.No one in baseball has faced Lackey more than Ichiro Suzuki, who is 30 for 98 against him. In contrast, Mike Carp -- batting .356 with two homers during an 11-game hitting streak overall -- is 0 for 6.After dropping three straight -- including back-to-back games at Texas -- Seattle (50-66) avoided a sweep Wednesday with a 4-3 victory thanks in part to a homer from Carp and a strong effort from starter Jason Vargas."We really needed this one," manager Eric Wedge said. "To salvage this one and head home was big for us and Jason stepped up."Wedge's club went 2-4 on the trip, but has won three in a row and four of five at Safeco Field. The Mariners, however, have lost 12 of 18 in this series at home.Seattle rookie Blake Beavan (3-2, 2.83) takes the mound looking to win a third straight start. After defeating Oakland 8-4 on Aug. 1, the 22-year-old right-hander allowed one run in eight innings during Saturday's 5-1 victory at the Los Angeles Angels."I've been impressed with all of Blake's outings, but his last two I felt like he was using all his weapons more effectively and really balancing it out with his fastball and his secondary stuff," Wedge said. "If he hadn't thrown 113 pitches (against the Athletics), I probably would have sent him back out there for the ninth. But he's still a young pitcher and that's as far as he's gone."Beavan, averaging just 3.7 strikeouts per nine innings, accredits much of his success to his pinpoint command. He's walked just six batters in 41 1/3 innings overall."The biggest thing I try to do is just throw strikes and get ahead and let your defense do the work. I'm not a strikeout guy, so I try to locate everything," said Beavan, who surrendered three runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 3-1 loss July 23 at Fenway Park.Beavan will try to slow down David Ortiz, who's gone 10 for 23 (.435) with three homers and six RBIs over his last six games. The designated hitter is batting .310 with two long balls over a seven-game hitting streak at Safeco.