Sox hope to end homestand in style

Sox hope to end homestand in style

After a wild seven-game homestand that included three walk-off wins in five days, the Red Sox will play their final game in Boston against the Indians on Thursday night before heading out on a six-game road trip.

The inspiration of the home crowd and the ability to get last licks has certainly made the difference in allowing the Red Sox to remain just two percentage points behind the Yankees in the American League East.

"There's never a night, where like in some ballparks, you've got only a quarter of the stands filled," second baseman Mark Loretta said. "And even in a tight situation, they can't generate that kind of a buzz, and it makes a difference."

Right-hander Josh Beckett will take the mound for the Red Sox while Jake Westbrook will make the start for the Indians.

Beckett has not received a loss in his last three decisions, winning two of those starts. He is 6-1 with a 3.22 ERA at Fenway Park this season and is 0-1 with a 19.64 ERA against the Indians in his career.

The Red Sox are 3-2 against the Indians this season.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (13-5, 4.76 ERA)
Beckett had won his previous two outings, but got the no-decision against the Angels on Saturday. He allowed three runs and four hits over six innings, but also helped the Angels by walking four. A positive note was that it was only the second game in his last eight starts where he did not allow a home run.

CLE: RHP Jake Westbrook (7-7, 4.31 ERA)
Westbrook has pitched well enough to win each of his last two starts. In the first, a lack of defensive help hurt him. In the second, the offense didn't come through. Westbrook held the Mariners to two runs on six hits (with two walks and three strikeouts) over eight innings Saturday, but came away with his third loss in as many starts. His only other appearance at Fenway Park saw him give up four earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Player to watch
Manny Ramirez is riding a team season-high 18-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
• Friday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 13-4, 4.84) at Devil Rays (RHP James Shields, 4-5, 5.43), 7:15 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (LHP David Wells, 0-1, 11.08) at Devil Rays (LHP Casey Fossum, 5-4, 4.89), 7:15 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (RHP Jason Johnson, 3-11, 6.25) at Devil Rays (LHP J.P. Howell, 0-1, 14.73), 1:15 p.m. ET

Howard Kussoy is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.