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The 606 - September 30, 2010
Dan Port | Thursday September 30th, 2010
Jon Lester tries for season win number twenty on Thursday in Chicago. (AP)
Jon Lester tries for season win number twenty on Thursday in Chicago. (AP)

Baseball Press presents "The 606", a look at the most intriguing pitching matchup of the day, with a final prediction of the winning pitcher. You may be asking yourself "What exactly does The 606 mean? There's no major league baseball for that area code- it's in Eastern Kentucky!" BBP isn't listing players from Eastern Kentucky either. The 606 is short for 60 feet and 6 inches. If you still don't understand, I direct your attention to Official Rule 1.07 from Major League Baseball, referring to the distance from the pitching mound to home plate. Now that we've got that squared away, let's take a look at today's featured pitching matchup for Thursday, September 30th.

In yesterday's 606, Cubs starter Randy Wells went 7 strong innings against the Padres but was bested by a five-pitcher shutout in San Diego.

Loss:  Randy Wells (7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1.43 WHIP)

The 606 Season-to-Date Record (W-L-ND): 110-98-71, 3.82 ERA (737 ER in 1736 IP)

Jon Lester tries for season win number twenty on Thursday in Chicago. (AP)

It's lefty versus lefty, Jon versus John, and Sox versus Sox in today's 606, as two of the American League's best non-playoff teams face off in Chicago.

LHP Jon Lester - BOS (19-8 2.96 ERA) vs. LHP John Danks - CWS (14-11, 3.74 ERA)
While a season without a playoff appearance is hardly a success for a normally top-tier club like the Red Sox, some victory could be gleaned from seeing pitcher and cancer survivor Jon Lester reach the 20 win mark this season.  The 26 year-old Lester has, along with teammate Clay Buchholz , pushed past veteran hurlers Josh Beckett and John Lackey to cement himself as one of Boston's front-line starters.  The lefty has been particularly successful in his last 6 outings, going 6-0 and reaching double-digit strikeouts 3 times, including an 8 inning, 12 K game against the Mariners on September 13th.  He's gone 7 scoreless frames in both of his last 2 contests, and his 2.12 September ERA is his best month since the 1.84 mark he had back in May, where he was also 5-0.  Lester has topped 220 strikeouts for the second straight season, and with 6 in this, his final start, he could reach a new career high.  To do so, he'll need to corral another competitive but not post-season bound squad in the Chicago White Sox, who he hasn't yet faced this season.  In 4 career starts against the White Sox, Lester is 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 19 strikeouts in 26.2 innings.  Lester has actually been better as a road starter this year, with a 2.33 ERA compared to a 3.67 home mark, so that could play to his favor on Thursday as well as he tries to become the AL's second 20 game winner of 2010.

Chicago lefty John Danks has turned in another very good season for his White Sox squad, as he's already reached a career high in wins and innings pitched and sits just 4 strikeouts short of a high in that stat as well.  It hasn't all been great for Danks, however; as his club faded late in the year, Danks also saw a drop-off in his own success, as he posted a 4.46 ERA in 10 August and September starts and saw his season mark go from 3.40 to 3.74.  Overall though, it's been a season to be proud of for Danks who, at just 25 years old, has turned in his third straight 30 start, 12-plus win seasons and is already cementing himself as one of the American League most reliable starting pitchers.  Looking toward 2011, the White Sox should have a pretty formidable starting rotation if Danks, Mark Buehrle , Gavin Floyd , and Edwin Jackson can all pitch to their potential.  As Danks attempts to nail down his 15th win of the 2010 season, he'll be trying to replicate the success he had against Boston back on September 4th, when he went 7 innings and allowed just 6 hits, 3 walks, and 1 run in a 3-1 victory.  In 6 career starts, Danks is 2-4 with a 4.33 ERA in 35.1 innings against the Red Sox, so he's certainly got something to build on there.

Final Prediction: Jon Lester

Dan PortDan Port has been a writer and article editor for Baseball Press since the fall of 2009. He's a Wisconsin native and Los Angeles resident, as well as an aspiring novelist, moderately successful gambler, and avid craft beer aficionado. You can reach him at dan@baseballpress.com or check him out on Twitter @danport and at DanielPort.com.