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Maddux welcomes Red Sox to town

Maddux welcomes Red Sox to town

Every baseball fan in San Diego County must have gotten the memo: The Boston Red Sox are coming to town! Practically every ticket has been snatched for this fanfare series. But in all seriousness, could you think of a better matchup?

The Padres will welcome the Red Sox in a three-game series at PETCO Park this weekend. And here's why baseball fans from every locale will be salavating for this game.

Both sit atop their respective leagues. The Padres hold the best record in the National League (41-30) with a .586 winning percentage while the Red Sox are tops in the American League with a 46-25 record so far this season. The Interleague contest is the first between the two since 2003.

The other reason to should tune in? To see two pitching wonders: Padres veteran Greg Maddux vs. the Red Sox rookie phenom, Daisuke Matsuzaka. The two have never faced each other although their names are certainly a couple of the most talked about in baseball circles. They also have the ability to stir fan-mania on their respective coasts.

Maddux comes into the game with a June 17 road win against his old team, the Chicago Cubs. He surrendered three runs on seven hits over six innings of work with one strikeout. Maddux (6-3) has yet to lose a game vs. the Red Sox. He will be looking for his seventh win of the season and sixth of his career opposite Boston.

Matsuzaka's last game was also a "W," but at home vs. the San Francisco Giants on June 16.

This will be the first series the Red Sox play in Southern California for the season. Relief pitcher Cla Meredith and catcher Josh Bard get to see their old team again after over a year. Boston traded Meredith and Bard on May 1, 2006, for Doug Mirabelli.

"They're a good team," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I'm looking forward to seeing the Red Sox. From what I saw in Anaheim [with the Angels] and in Boston over the years, the ballpark, it will be a different level of intensity. The fans are into it and they got great players, they got marquee players like [David] Ortiz and [Manny] Ramirez."

Pitching matchup
SD: RHP Greg Maddux (6-3, 3.90 ERA)
Maddux is 5-0 in seven career starts against the Red Sox and has allowed 19 runs over 47 1/3 innings with 31 strikeouts over that span. This will be his first encounter with Boston in a San Diego uniform. Maddux's last home start was a win over his former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, on June 6.

BOS: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-5, 4.18 ERA)
This will be Matsuzaka's first career start opposite the Padres, but he's familiar with the NL West, thanks to a home win vs. the Giants on June 16 in Fenway Park. Still, it should be noted that another NL West team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, handed Matsuzaka a loss in his last away game on June 10.

Player to watch
Padres outfielder Jose Cruz has never faced Matsuzaka, but he does have a good track record against the Red Sox. He's collected 41 runs on 75 hits at the plate vs. Boston in 87 career appearances. The switch-hitter has blasted nine home runs against them as well.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

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

On television
• Ch. 4/HD-704, Cablemas (Español)

On radio
• XPRS, XEMO (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Padres (Chris Young, 6-3, 2.26) vs. Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 7-7, 4.18), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Padres (Jake Peavy, 9-1, 1.98) vs. Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 10-1, 3.14), 1:05 p.m. PT
• Monday: Padres (Justin Germano, 5-1, 2.63) at Giants (Tim Lincecum, 2-2, 5.88), 7:15 p.m. PT

Elizabeth M. Botello is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["interleague_play" ] }