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Red Sox vs. Blue Jays Preview 9/30

09.30.09 at 11:30 am ET
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After a dramatic late rally that fell short in their 8-7 loss to the Blue Jays Tuesday night, the Red Sox had to postpone their playoff celebration until the final out was made on the West Coast, giving the Angels a 5-2 victory over the Rangers and ending Texas’ postseason hopes.

With the wild card now secure, the Red Sox (91-66) can finally exhale and begin to prepare for their playoff run with only five regular-season games remaining. Tuesday night was bittersweet, as the Sox first watched Blue Jays batters tee off on right-hander Clay Buchholz. Lasting only five innings, Buchholz was pounded for seven runs on eight hits, five which were home runs.

Looking to end a five-game skid, the Red Sox send knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (11-4, 4.33) to the mound to make his fourth start after being activated from the disabled list Aug. 26. An All-Star based on the first half of his season, Wakefield has yet to record a win in his return from the DL, going 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA.

In his two starts against Toronto (74-84) this season, the 43-year-old has had one brilliant outing and one miserable one. On May 19, Wakefield was nearly flawless in turning in eight strong innings of one-run ball in a Sox win. On May 29, the veteran was slammed, giving up six runs in 4-2/3 innings of work. In 50 career appearances (40 starts) opposing the Jays, Wakefield owns a 17-12 record with a 3.81 ERA.

A Cy Young candidate and a hot topic in the days leading up to the July trade deadline, Roy Halladay (16-10, 2.90) makes what could be his last start of the year for the Blue Jays. After having a rough August, Halladay has dominated during the month of September, composing a microscopic 1.80 ERA in five starts.

Facing the Mariners last Friday in Toronto, Halladay was overpowering, whiffing 11 and allowing no runs to post his major league-best eighth complete game of the season and career-best third shutout. In his three starts against the Red Sox this year, Halladay has not shown his usual lights-out form, recording a 2-1 mark with a 4.05 ERA. Kevin Youkilis has had plenty of success against Halladay, batting .352 with a home run in 62 career plate appearances.

Here is how both pitchers match up vs. opposing batters:

Tim Wakefield vs. Blue Jays batters

Vernon Wells (67 career plate appearances) .246 AVG, .343 OBP, .281 SLG, 7 walks, 6 strikeouts

Kevin Millar (35) .419, .486, .903, 4 home runs, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts

Aaron Hill (33) .290, .333, .323, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Rod Barajas (29) .259, .310, .370, 1 home run, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

John McDonald (26) .240, .231, .320, 2 strikeouts

Marco Scutaro (25) .333, .360, .458, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Lyle Overbay (23) .286, .348, .333, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Adam Lind (12) .167, .167, .167, 1 strikeout

Edwin Encarnacion (3) 1-for-3

Roy Halladay vs. Red Sox batters

David Ortiz (105 career plate appearances) .281 AVG, .333 OBP, .531 SLG, 6 home runs, 7 walks, 13 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (84) .205, .262, .333, 2 home runs, 6 walks, 23 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (62) .352, .419, .519, 1 home run, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (41) .211, .250, .368, 1 home run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (34) .300, .382, .400, 1 home run, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts

Mike Lowell (31) .233, .258, .533, 3 home runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (29) .259, .259, .630, 2 home runs, 5 strikeouts

Rocco Baldelli (19) .353, .421, .706, 2 home runs, 5 strikeouts

Jason Bay (19) .278, .316, .667, 2 home runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Joey Gathright (18) .063, .167, .063, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Casey Kotchman (18) .222, .222, .222, 1 strikeout

Victor Martinez (18) .333, .444, .467, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

Alex Gonzalez (10) .375, .400, .375, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Nick Green (9) 1-for-9, 6 strikeouts

Jed Lowrie (6) 0-for-6, 2 strikeouts

Brian Anderson (3) 2-for-3

Chris Woodward (3) 1-for-3, 1 strikeout

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