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Lester on the mound today


FACING THE PHILS: Boston travels to Clearwater today to take on the Philadelphia Phillies…It marks the 2nd and last spring matchup between the 2 clubs as the Red Sox dropped a 2-0 decision to the Phillies on 3/3.

The Sox and Phillies will meet for 1 series during the 2011 campaign, a 3-game set at Citizens Bank from 6/28-30…Boston took 4 of 6 Interleague contests vs. Philadelphia in 2010 and holds an 18-6 advantage in the series since 2004.

SUNDAY IN THE PARK: The Red Sox suffered a 10-3 loss yesterday to the St. Louis Cardinals at City of Palms Park…All 10 Cardinals runs were scored with 2 outs in the 6th inning…Daisuke Matsuzaka started and was tagged with the loss, despite allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks with 4 strikeouts over 5.2 frames…Andrew Miller was charged with 6 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks without retiring a batter and Scott Atchison yielded 2 runs before getting out of the inning but went on to throw a scoreless 7th…Dennys Reyes and Rich Hill tossed a scoreless 8th and 9th inning respectively…At the plate, Marco Scutaro reached in all 3 plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with a walk, and Nate Spears notched a 2-run double.

PITCHING NEWS: Felix Doubront and Bobby Jenks are scheduled to throw a simulated game this morning at 10 a.m. on the back field at City of Palms Park. Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon are each scheduled to pitch in minor league games at the Red Sox Player Development Complex this afternoon at 1 p.m.…Sox minor leaguers will be facing teams from the Tampa Bay organization.

MEDIA SCHEDULE: Boston will host the Tampa Bay Rays tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m.…

OFF DAY COMING: After tomorrow’s night game, the Red Sox will enjoy their 1st and only scheduled off day of the spring on Wednesday (3/23)…Wednesday also marks first base coach Ron Johnson’s 55th birthday.

ROSTER MOVES: The Red Sox yesterday optioned C Mark Wagner and OF Daniel Nava to Triple-A Pawtucket and reassigned RHP Matt Fox to minor league camp.

CROWDED HOUSE: The 7,876 fans at yesterday’s game vs. the Cardinals was the 11th sellout in Boston’s 12 home Grapefruit League tilts…The Red Sox have sold out 115 of their last 116 Grapefruit League (non-exhibition) games at City of Palms Park dating back to 3/16/03, the exception being 3/8’s split-squad tilt vs. Houston. 13 of the Sox 14 road games this spring have been sellouts, including Saturday’s crowd of 6,644, which also set a record at the Pirates spring home, McKechnie Field, in Bradenton. The Sox enter the 2011 season having sold out a Major League-record 631 consecutive games at Fenway Park beginning 5/15/03.

DID YOU KNOW: Jon Lester is the only pitcher with at least 15 wins in the American League in all 3 seasons since 2008…CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Bronson Arroyo and Tim Lincecum are the only other Major League hurlers to win at least 15 contests in each of the past 3 years.

ROTATION SET: Today’s starter Jon Lester will start for Boston in the team’s 2011 regular season opener at Texas on 4/1, his 1st career Opening Day start…John Lackey (4/2) and Clay Buchholz (4/3) round out the Red Sox opening series starters…After an off day, Josh Beckett takes the mound in the series opener in Cleveland (4/5), followed by Daisuke Matsuzaka (4/6) and Lester (4/7)…Lackey is slated to start the home opener at Fenway Park vs. NYY on 4/8 at 2:05 p.m.

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