(Sports Network) - Jon Lester shoots for his 19th win of the season and tries to keep the Boston Red Sox's fleeting postseason hopes alive in the process when his team continues its three-game set with the New York Yankees this afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Lester won his fifth straight start on Sunday, as he scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings against Toronto to run his record to 18-8 on the year and lower his earned run average to 3.06.
"He just goes out there and gives us a great chance to win ballgames," said Boston catcher Victor Martinez, "He's not fun to face. I've faced him before and believe me, it's way more fun to be behind the plate for him."
Lester tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings to beat the Yankees on August 9 and owns a 5-1 lifetime mark against them with a 3.63 ERA in 11 starts.
Boston remained in the playoff hunt in the opener of this set on Friday, as it jumped out to an early nine-run lead before holding off a late Yankees' charge in a 10-8 victory.
The Red Sox are now 6 1/2 games back of the Yanks for the American League Wild Card and sit seven games behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays, who moved a half-game ahead of New York with a win over Seattle.
The Yankees had entered this series on the heels of splitting a four-game set with the Rays.
New York will hand the ball today to rookie right-hander Ivan Nova, who is 1-0 with a 4.11 ERA. Nova did not get a decision on Monday against Tampa but pitched well, surrendering three runs (two earned) and three hits in 5 2/3 innings of his team's 8-6 win.
This will be Nova's first-ever appearance against the Red Sox.