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Cleveland at Boston

Venue: Fenway Park
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Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett is taking heat for reports he went golfing while supposedly injured last week.

Perhaps he was just preparing for October.

Beckett will try to help the last-place Red Sox avoid a sixth straight home loss Thursday night when they open a four-game set against the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians.

Beckett (2-3, 4.45 ERA) will take the mound for the first time since April 29, when he allowed three runs over 6 2-3 innings of a 4-1 road loss to the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander matched a career high by throwing 126 pitches in that outing, prompting manager Bobby Valentine to skip Beckett's following turn in the rotation due to soreness in the pitcher's right side.

While the soreness kept Beckett off the diamond, it evidently wasn't enough to keep him off the links. According to reports, he went golfing last Thursday during a team off day with fellow Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.

For his part, Valentine attempted to diffuse the controversy.

"He had a sore lat," Valentine told the team's official website. "He wasn't an injured player, I know that. We'll take it from there. But I'm sure that Josh wouldn't do anything that's going to jeopardize his team or his season, I know that."

Boston's hopes of contending in 2012 will be jeopardized if the club doesn't improve its play soon. After dropping the first five games of May to conclude a six-game homestand, the Red Sox (12-18) lost two of three on the road to a Kansas City club that had been 2-12 at home before Boston came to town.

While the Red Sox try to avoid dropping six straight games at Fenway Park for the first time since April 6-19, 2010, they'll be facing a couple of players who may remind them of better times. The Indians (17-13) feature leadoff man Johnny Damon and Thursday's probable starter Derek Lowe (4-1, 2.39), both of whom played key roles on Boston's 2004 club that won the World Series.

Lowe, whose final game in a Red Sox uniform was the 2004 World Series clincher, has only faced Boston once in his career, a 3-0 loss at Fenway on June 20, 2009, when he allowed three runs over 6 1-3 innings for Atlanta.

The sinkerballer has yielded two or fewer runs in four of his first six starts for Cleveland, which acquired him from the Braves last offseason. He didn't earn a decision in Saturday's 11-inning, 5-2 loss to Texas after giving up two runs and scattering nine hits over six innings.

Damon is batting just .167 in eight games since joining the Indians following an 0-for-4 effort in Wednesday's 8-1 loss to the White Sox. Cleveland had eight hits, but went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and settled for a split after taking the first two contests of a four-game set.

"A lot of it falls on my shoulders," Damon said. "I'm the leadoff guy and I've been pretty awful. It affects the guys coming up after me. I definitely need to get it going."

The Indians are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak of 2012.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Derek Lowe, RHP
2012 stats
37.2 Innings Pitched 32.1
4-1 Wins-Losses 2-3
2.39 Earned Run Average 4.45
12 Walks 9
10 Strikeouts 24
0.0 Pitches Per Start 0.0
Career vs. opponent
6.1 Innings Pitched 61.1
0-1 Wins-Losses 4-5
4.26 Earned Run Average 4.84

Josh Beckett, RHP
Weather
weather image  Showers early. Clearing skies. Mild.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
66°F54°F15mph/W58%65%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Cleveland1st AL Central9063.588-7-3 W 4
Boston1st AL East9064.584-9-1 W 9
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Josh Beckett
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Marson52101.400
Hafner207143.350
Kipnis31101.333
Choo165112.313
Cabrera165035.313
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Derek Lowe
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Aviles31000.333
Gonzalez237115.304
Ross103032.300
Ortiz72000.286
Punto113013.273
 

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Injuries
Cleveland
PlayerInjury
M. BrantleyShoulder
M. ByrdSuspension
C. CarrascoHand
Y. GomesWrist
D. SalazarForearm
Boston
PlayerInjury
J. RutledgeKnee
P. SandovalShoulder
C. SmithForearm
B. SwihartAnkle
S. TravisKnee
B. WorkmanElbow
S. WrightShoulder
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 19BOSTB 3-0Ramirez Barnes 
Apr 20BOSBOS 7-3Porcello Archer 
Apr 21BOSTB 12-8Ramirez Cuevas 
Jun 27TBTB 13-7Snell Rodriguez 
Jun 28TBBOS 8-2Porcello Archer 
Jun 29TBTB 4-0Moore Price 
Jul 8BOSBOS 6-5Ross Archer 
Jul 9BOSBOS 4-1Porcello Moore 
Jul 10BOSBOS 4-0Price Odorizzi 
Aug 22TBBOS 6-2Price Snell 
Aug 23TBBOS 2-1Buchholz Archer 
Aug 24TBTB 4-3Boxberger Hembree 
Aug 25TBTB 2-1Odorizzi Pomeranz 
Aug 29BOSBOS 9-4Porcello Andriese 
Aug 30BOSTB 4-3Romero Buchholz 
Aug 31BOSBOS 8-6Tazawa Ramirez 
Sep 23TBBOS 2-1Pomeranz Archer 
Sep 24TB 6:10 PM EDT  
Sep 25TB 1:10 PM EDT