Red Sox send unbeaten Lester to mound

Red Sox send unbeaten Lester to mound

Which is the last team in the American League that the Red Sox have yet to face this season? The same one that comes into Fenway Park for a three-game series that begins on Friday night.

That would be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the team that is tied for to top spot in the American League West with the Athletics.

The Angels, led by star slugger Vladimir Guerrero, are a dangerous team that has yet to fully hit their stride. But the Red Sox are still leery.

"We're getting [Jered] Weaver, [Kelvim] Escobar and [John] Lackey," noted Sox third baseman Mike Lowell. "I don't think we can take any team lightly from here on out, honestly. We have to take each series as if it's very important and try to win it. Things are pretty tight and it's going to stay that way unless someone gets hot, and hopefully that's us."

The Red Sox are coming off a 3-3 road trip on the West Coast. They've been a dominant team at Fenway for the fourth straight season, taking a 32-13 home record (the best in Major League Baseball) entering this seven-game homestand.

Boston will face Escobar on Friday, followed by red-hot phenom Weaver in the middle game and the underrated Lackey in the Sunday Night finale.

A good test for the Red Sox, right?

"We'll see, they've got to come to the house," Sox DH David Ortiz said of the Angels.

The Red Sox send rookie left-hander Jon Lester to the hill on Friday. He is unbeaten in his first nine Major League starts. Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling will round out the weekend rotation.

Pitching matchup
BOS: LHP Jon Lester (5-0, 3.04 ERA)
Lester was not sharp in his last start, yielding eight hits and five runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Mariners. Still, he was in position to get the win in that game, but Manny Delcarmen blew the lead in the seventh inning. Lester is unbeaten in his first nine Major League starts. In five Fenway starts, he is 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA.

LAA: RHP Kelvim Escobar (6-9, 3.88 ERA)
Escobar came off the disabled list on Saturday and made his first start since July 6 after a bout with inflammation in his elbow. Escobar gave up three runs on five hits in the first inning, but nothing after that -- allowing four hits over six scorelesss innings -- before departing after 98 pitches and seven innings. Escobar did have a blister on his middle finger, but said it should not prevent him from making his next start.

Player to watch
Manny Ramirez boasts a 12-game hitting streak.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WEEI 850 AM, WROL 950 AM (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 13-5, 4.77) vs. Angels (RHP Jered Weaver, 7-0, 1.15), 1:20 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 13-3, 3.60) vs. Angels (RHP John Lackey, 9-6, 2.89), 3:35 p.m. ET
• Monday: Red Sox (RHP Kyle Snyder, 2-2, 7.15) vs. Indians (RHP Paul Byrd, 7-6, 4.71), 7:05 p.m. ET

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.