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Thursday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Ryan Dempster vs. J.A. Happ

05.02.13 at 9:42 am ET

Ryan Dempster will start at Toronto’s Rogers Centre for the first time in his 16-year career on Thursday, facing J.A. Happ and the Blue Jays in the final game of the series.

Dempster has struck out at least seven batters in each of his first five starts with the Red Sox, and he’s twice fanned 10, with 43 punchouts to go with 14 walks on the year.

In his last start, against the Astros on April 26, Dempster gave up two runs on four hits over six innings, walking three and striking out 10. He’s averaged six innings per start as he’s put together a 3.30 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

Happ made his first start of this year against the Red Sox back on April 5. He struck out six and walked three over 5 1/3 innings, holding the Sox scoreless, but exited in the sixth after throwing 99 pitches to that point.

Happ allowed four and five runs in his next two starts after that one, but he has been better over his last two outings. He got a no-decision in his last start, on April 27 against the Yankees, when he allowed three runs on eight hits over six innings.

In three career starts, plus one relief appearance, against the Red Sox, Happ has a 4.91 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Those numbers are largely due to two rocky starts he made against them in 2009 and 2011, giving up five runs in each of those outings.

Originally, Happ had been scheduled to pitch the Jays’ series opener against the Mariners on Friday, but he moved up a day because of an injury to Josh Johnson.

Dempster last faced the Blue Jays in 2005, as a Cub in interleague play. None of the current Toronto hitters who have faced him at least 10 times have hit him very well. Jose Bautista, who’s seen him 12 times, is hitting .200 with one double against him.

Jacoby Ellsbury has enjoyed some success against Happ, hitting .333/.364/.556 in 11 plate appearances with two doubles.

Red Sox vs. Happ (LHP)

Jonny Gomes (13): .000/.231/.000, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (11): .333/.364/.556, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Stephen Drew (6): .333/.333/.333, 2 singles

Shane Victorino (6): .333/.667/.333, 3 walks

Dustin Pedroia (5): .600/.600/.800, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Pedro Ciriaco (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk

David Ortiz (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 RBI, 1 walk

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk

Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli and David Ross have never reached base against Happ in two PAs each. Mike Carp and Daniel Nava have never faced Happ.

Blue Jays vs. Dempster (RHP)

Emilio Bonifacio (18 plate appearances): .188 BA/.278 OBP/.188 SLG, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Edwin Encarnacion (14): .091/.286/.091, 2 RBI, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jose Bautista (12): .200/.333/.300, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Colby Rasmus (12): .091/.167/.182, 1 double, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Melky Cabrera (9): .333/.333/.444, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Henry Blanco (6): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Mark DeRosa (6): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Rajai Davis and Maicer Izturis are hitless in one plate appearance each against Dempster. J.P. Arencibia, Munenori Kawasaki, Brett Lawrie and Adam Lind have never faced Dempster.

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