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Schilling set to close series vs. A's

Schilling set to close series against A's

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The Boston Red Sox haven't gotten off to the best of starts on their current western road swing.

Curt Schilling, who makes his 13th start of the season and the 425th of his career on Thursday, hopes to give the Red Sox a lift on the eve of their first DH-free contest of the year.

"He's a great team leader," Boston shortstop Julio Lugo said. "Even when he doesn't have his best stuff, you know he'll find a way to win."

Schilling does not have a great track record in Oakland. He's 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA in four starts there.

Schilling does, however, know how to silence Eric Chavez. The A's third baseman has managed one hit in 17 at-bats against Schilling. Chavez is heating up, too. He's hit home runs in the first two games of this series and has an extra-base hit in all three so far.

Mark Kotsay, just back from the disabled list, has been a strikeout victim against Schilling 16 times.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (5-2, 3.91 ERA)
Schilling couldn't build on his dominant previous start against Cleveland, allowing five earned runs and nine hits against the Yankees at Fenway. He struck out only two Yankees, Hideki Matsui and Alex Rodriguez, neither of them on the revived split-finger fastball that allowed him to punch out 10 Indians on May 28. He has allowed 89 hits in 76 innings this season. Schilling is 3-3 in 12 career games against the A's.

OAK: RHP Joe Blanton (5-3, 3.81 ERA)
Blanton will have a hard time matching his effort from his last outing, but he'll give it a try. Blanton took just an hour and 49 minutes to pitch a shutout on Saturday night against the Twins, holding them to three hits and striking out six. Blanton is 2-0 in three career starts against the Red Sox.

Player to watch
If shortstop Julio Lugo is still looking for a way out of his hitting slump, Blanton could be just the tonic he needs. Lugo is a career .357 hitter against the right-hander, and that includes a pair of doubles. He's the only active Red Sox player with more than one RBI against Blanton.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WEEI 850, WROL (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 8-0, 2.95) at D-backs (Doug Davis, 4-6, 3.05), 9:40 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (Julian Tavarez, 3-4, 5.33) at D-backs (Micah Owings, 4-1, 3.86), 9:40 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 7-4, 4.63) at D-backs (Randy Johnson, 3-2, 3.78), 4:40 p.m. ET

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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