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Monday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. J.A. Happ 04.18.16 at 7:30 am ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz will take the hill Monday and try to give Red Sox fans something to cheer about in the annual Patriots Day morning start. He is set to face off against Blue Jays southpaw J.A. Happ.

Coming into his third start of the season, Buchholz does not exactly have momentum on his side. In each of his first two starts he allowed five runs. Looking specifically at his last start — April 12 against the Orioles — he was hit hard. He gave up five earned runs over five innings, allowing five hits (two home runs), walking three and striking out five. He took the loss, as the Orioles posted a 9-5 victory.

“I felt like I had good stuff,” Buchholz said after the loss. “I felt like I threw the ball pretty well tonight. Two home runs got me.”

In 27 career starts against the Blue Jays plus one relief appearance, Buchholz is 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.231 WHIP, recording 125 strikeouts and 66 walks in 174 2/3 innings.

Happ, who is back for his second stint in Toronto after pitching for the Mariners and Pirates last year, has been solid through two starts this season. The 10-year major league veteran picked up his first win of the season in his last outing on April 13 against the Yankees. He went six innings, scattering seven hits and allowing just one earned run. He walked three and struck out four in a game the Blue Jays won 7-2. He got out of several jams throughout the game, stranding seven Yankees runners.

“The best thing about tonight was being able to make some pitches in big situations,” Happ said afterward.

Added Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira: “I thought he pitched very well against us. He really mixed it up in and out, up and down, kept us off balance.”

Happ, 33, has made 10 appearances against the Red Sox, including nine starts, going 3-3 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.481 WHIP, recording 40 strikeouts and 28 walks in 52 innings.

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Read More: Blue Jays, Clay Buchholz, J.A. Happ, Red Sox
Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Steven Wright vs. Aaron Sanchez 04.17.16 at 8:26 am ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

The Red Sox will send knuckleballer Steven Wright to the hill Sunday afternoon opposite Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez in the third game of the teams’ four-game series at Fenway Park.

Wright faced the same potent Blue Jays lineup in his first start of the season on April 1. It also was his first career start against Toronto. Despite a solid outing, he came away with the loss. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (only one earned) on six hits, while walking three and striking out five. He kept the Red Sox in the game as long as he could, but the team could not get the bats going and went on to lose 3-0.

“Outstanding job on his part,” manager John Farrell said of Wright’s performance. “Kept us in the game into the seventh inning. He minimized the damage as much as possible in the first, but after that first inning, he settled in and controlled and commanded the knuckleball very well. He used his fastball at times to get ahead in the count, to get back into counts. But we ran into an outstanding pitching performance by [Marco] Estrada today.”

Sanchez will try to be the next Blue Jays pitcher to outduel Wright. He has been very effective in his two starts this season, posting an ERA of 1.38 and a WHIP of 0.846, but has yet to factor into a decision. In his last start on April 12 against the Yankees, Sanchez went six innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits. He struck out five and walked three in a game the Blue Jays would go on to lose, 3-2. He was solid for most of the game but struggled with his command at times, which resulted in a high pitch count.

“You don’t expect to be good in the major leagues going ball, ball, ball, then strike, strike, strike,” Sanchez said after the game. “Maybe I wasn’t getting calls, but at this level, you can’t let things like that get to you. I’ll learn from that for the next time.”

In 10 career appearances covering 19 2/3 innings against the Red Sox (including two starts), Sanchez is 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.271 WHIP, recording 12 strikeouts and 18 walks.

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Read More: Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays, Red Sox, steven wright
Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: David Price vs. Marco Estrada 04.16.16 at 8:17 am ET
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David Price

David Price

Red Sox ace David Price will take the hill Saturday to face off against his former team, looking to pick up his second win of the season while opposing Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada.

Price came away with a no-decision in his last start against the Orioles. In the home opener at Fenway Park, he struggled to find a groove, lasting just five innings. He allowed five runs on five hits, walking two and striking out eight. The Sox would go on to lose the game when Craig Kimbrel allowed a three-run home run to Chris Davis in the ninth inning.

For the second straight start, Price had one inning in which he ran into trouble. In this case, it was the third inning when he allowed five runs, including a three-run home run to Mark Trumbo.

“It’s kind of been my Achilles’ heel — having that one bad inning,” Price said after the game. “That’s all it takes in this game. It can be one pitch, and today it was just that one bad inning.”

Price, who appeared in 11 games for the Blue Jays last season after being traded from the Tigers, has faced Toronto 21 times in his career, recording a 16-2 record, 2.41 ERA and 1.064 WHIP.

Estrada had no trouble in his last start against the Red Sox last Sunday. He shut out Boston through seven innings of work while allowing five hits, walking two and striking out eight in his season debut. The Blue Jays went on to win the game 3-0. Despite the dominant performance, Estrada said there still is room to grow.

“I feel pretty good,” Estrada said after the game. “Still a little off. Things are going to get better. Just not quite 100 percent with the feel for things but it’s really close.”

Said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia: “The three times I faced him, he didn’t give me one good pitch to hit. He was on the corners, his changeup was great.”

In four career starts against the Red Sox, the 32-year-old Estrada is 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA and 1.444 WHIP.

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Read More: Blue Jays, David Price, Marco Estrada, Red Sox
Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. R.A. Dickey 04.15.16 at 8:39 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

In a rematch of their duel last Saturday, Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello will face off against Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey as the teams begin a four-game series.

In his first start of the season, Porcello came up victorious in a game the Red Sox won 8-4. He went six innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out seven. He struggled early but eventually settled down. The Red Sox bats kept him in the game and earned him a win, as they twice came back to gain the lead.

“With the lineup that we have, and the things that they’re doing right now, our job is to keep us in the game and pitch as deep as possible,” Porcello said after the win. “That’s it. That being said, you face some tough lineups, it can be a challenge, but we’ve got a great lineup and really really good defense, and that’s to our advantage.”

Said manager John Farrell: “After the first three innings, I thought he settled in. He stayed out of the plate much more consistently. Got a number of ground balls. I thought his sinker, at the bottom of the strike zone today, was as good as we’ve seen in quite some time. He did bend, but he didn’t break.”

In 12 career starts against the Blue Jays, Porcello is 5-7 with a 5.35 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 19 walks.

Dickey was hit hard by the Red Sox on Saturday in Toronto. He lasted five innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on eight hits. He walked two and struck out nine. Less than a week later, he faces the same lineup that roughed him up the first time around.

“If you wallow in it, it doesn’t help anybody,” Dickey said after the game. “So if there’s one thing that experience has taught me, it’s that you’ve got to turn the page quickly. Take what you can — bad and good — out of the outing and turn the page quickly. That’s what we need to do.”

In 17 career starts against the Red Sox, Dickey is 6-7 with a 4.50 ERA, 94 strikeouts and 30 walks.

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Read More: Blue Jays, R.A. Dickey, Red Sox, rick porcello
Closing Time: Steven Wright pitches well, but punchless Red Sox shut out by Blue Jays 04.10.16 at 5:19 pm ET
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Steven Wright wasn't the problem in Sunday's loss to the Jays. (Nick Turchiaro-USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright wasn’t the problem in Sunday’s loss to the Jays. (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

Not even David Price could’ve saved them.

The controversy all week over the Red Sox’ choice of starter for Sunday’s finale in Toronto was rendered irrelevant by Jays right-hander Marco Estrada, who combined with two relievers to shut out the Red Sox in Toronto’s 3-0 victory.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright got the start on Price’s regularly scheduled day to pitch, with the Red Sox opting to hold Price back a day for Monday’s home opener at Fenway Park. Wright certainly did his part, limiting the high-octane Blue Jays to six hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings, striking out five, but the Red Sox could do nothing with the crafty Estrada, who went seven shutout innings, striking out eight.

“Outstanding job on his part,” manager John Farrell said of Wright. “Kept us in the game into the seventh inning. He minimized the damage as much as possible in the first, but after that first inning, he settled in and controlled and commanded the knuckleball very well. He used his fastball at times to get ahead in the count, to get back into counts. But we ran into an outstanding pitching performance by Estrada today.”

The Jays basically won this one by the time they recorded their first out on offense. Singles by Kevin Pillar and Josh Donaldson leading off, followed by a walk to Jose Bautista, loaded the bases with one out. Edwin Encarnacion hit a double-play grounder to short, but Dustin Pedroia threw away Xander Bogaerts’ relay, allowing Encarnacion to reach and two runs to score.

Wright escaped further damage and kept the Jays off the board the rest of the way, their only other run coming on a mammoth solo homer by Donaldson off of reliever Noe Ramirez in the eighth.

The Red Sox return to Fenway 3-2 after a successful season-opening road trip, however, having taken two of three from the Jays.

Closing Time note

Until Ramirez allowed Donaldson’s homer, Red Sox relief pitchers had held opponents to a .100 average (5-for-50), the lowest mark among big league bullpens.

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Read More: Blue Jays, David Price, Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Steven Wright vs. Marco Estrada at 8:23 am ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

In the series finale on Sunday, Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright will take on Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada. Both pitchers will be making their first start of the 2016 season.

Wright was used as a spot starter for most of 2015, when he started nine games. He posted a record of 5-4 to go with a 4.09 ERA and 52 strikeouts. He may find himself in a similar role this season once Eduardo Rodriguez returns from injury. The 31-year-old earned the temporary fifth spot in spring training, when he struck out 19 and had an ERA of 2.77 over 26 innings. He will come into his first outing with some positive momentum, as he impressed in his final Grapefruit League start against the Blue Jays at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on April 1.

“I thought he was outstanding for the time on the mound,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after that game. “A high number of strikeouts. His knuckleball was really working inside a dome, which is what we’ve seen over time, it usually has extra action to it. That was the case tonight. He threw a number of curveballs, a pitch that he’s brought along this spring. A very good outing for Steven.”

Wright will once again have the advantage of playing in a dome on Sunday, this time in Toronto. While he has never started a regular-season game against the Blue Jays, he has been used out of the bullpen on two separate occasions. In seven innings of work, he has allowed three earned runs and struck out nine.

As for Estrada, he will be coming off the disabled list to make his first start on Sunday. He started the year there with a sore back but pitched in a minor league game on Monday where he gave up one run on three hits over five innings of work.

Last season was Estrada’s best yet. The 32-year-old from Mexico posted a record of 13-8 to go with a 3.13 ERA and 131 strikeouts, setting career bests in wins, ERA, WHIP and innings pitched. His only downfall has been through the long ball. In the past two seasons alone, Estrada has allowed 53 home runs.

In five games against the Red Sox, Estrada is 2-2 with a 4.95 ERA and 14 strikeouts.

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Read More: Blue Jays, Marco Estrada, Red Sox, steven wright
Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. R.A. Dickey 04.09.16 at 9:12 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

In the second game of the season’s first weekend series, the Red Sox will have righty Rick Porcello on the hill for his 2016 debut. He will be opposed by Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

The 2015 season was a forgettable one for Porcello. Before he even made his first start with the club, the Red Sox signed him to a four-year, $82.5 million extension. Along with the high price tag came high expectations, and Porcello certainly did not live up to them. In one of his worst seasons statistically, he went 9-15 with a career worst 4.92 ERA and 149 strikeouts.

His spring training brought more cause for concern, as he struggled to find consistent success and had a several rough outings. Red Sox manager John Farrell echoed this in an interview after Porcello was hit hard by the Orioles in a Grapefruit League matchup.

“He’s capable of better,” Farrell said on March 28. “He has shown that. We need Rick to pitch to his strengths, which are continually worked on. He’s working at it to continue to refine it and gain that consistency. We need him to be a little bit more consistent.”

In 11 career starts against the Blue Jays, Porcello is 4-7 with a 5.29 ERA.

Dickey and Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright originally were to match up on Saturday, which would have been the first time in 16 years that two knuckleballers started against each other, but Thursday’s cancellation in Cleveland caused the Sox to tweak the pitching schedule.

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Read More: Blue Jays, R.A. Dickey, Red Sox, rick porcello
Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Marcus Stroman 04.08.16 at 9:35 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

After Thursday’s game in Cleveland was postponed due to rain, the Red Sox will send out hard-throwing right hander Joe Kelly to make his 2016 debut in the team’s first divisional match of the young season. He will attempt to outduel young Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman.

In his 2015 campaign Kelly started more games (25) and threw more innings (134 1/3) than he ever had previously in his career. He finished 10-6 with a 4.82 ERA and 110 strikeouts.

He had a solid spring, posting a 2.63 ERA with 22 strikeouts over 24 innings.

Kelly has developed good chemistry with catcher Ryan Hanigan, which really became evident this spring. With Christian Vazquez still not fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, Red Sox manager John Farrell indicated he’s likely to utilize this combination when it’s Kelly’s turn in the rotation.

“I think right now Joe Kelly has settled into a pretty good rhythm and feel with Ryan behind the plate,” said Farrell. “That’s not to say that that battery is going to be every fifth day. But that’s one where, when you start to map out spots for individual guys, that’s one where I can envision Ryan handling him.”

In five career starts against the Blue Jays, Kelly is 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA.

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Read More: Blue Jays, Joe Kelly, Marcus Stroman, Red Sox
Blue Jays win American League East’s best Super Bowl party 02.08.16 at 10:02 am ET
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With football season officially over, big league baseball players will begin to really flock toward Arizona and Florida in preparation for the coming season.

But it never hurts if there some sort of segue to help the transition. The Red Sox had their Winter Weekend, but that was still in the heart of the NFL playoffs.

Well, when it comes to making the most creative bridge from one sport to the other, the Blue Jays won the day.

That’s right, the Blue Jays had a Super Bowl party in which admission was contingent on wearing onesie pajamas.

When contacted by WEEI.com for comment on his group’s get-together, Toronto manager John Gibbons sent this along in a text …

“I was at a party where my daughter’s band performed pregame. But I would have loved to watched it in PJs.”

Read More: Blue Jays, John Gibbons, Super Bowl 50,
Will David Price start new ‘Scooter Gang’ in Boston? 12.15.15 at 10:58 am ET
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David Price has a whole new team to hand out scooters to. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

David Price has a whole new team to hand out scooters to. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The declaration has come from all angles, with former Toronto GM Alex Anthopolous, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, and Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus all recently contributing to the narrative.

David Price is the best teammate I’ve ever been around.”

Perhaps. But, thanks to a bunch of scooters, Price has certainly defined himself as one of the most unique teammates in the big leagues.

Setting the scene …

It was Sept. 7, and the Blue Jays had just dropped an 11-4 decision to the Red Sox. Considering the pennant race Toronto was immersed it, one might expect Gibbons’ players to be trudging back toward their team bus with the expression befitting a beaten down club.

But about an hour or so after the final pitch, a wave of eight or so Blue Jays players — led by Price — could be found flying through the antiquated concourse of Fenway Park, all riding contraptions called EcoReco Scooters.

It turns out, not only was the group exiting Fenway on the electric scooters, but they formed a convoy on the streets of Boston, riding them to the park from the team hotel.

“We went from the hotel to the field. Nobody recognized us,” said Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson. “That was our posse. We were the ‘Scooter Gang.'”

This was Price’s gang.

Upon arriving in Toronto via a midseason trade, the pitcher took it upon himself to buy about eight of the environmentally-friendly scooters, handing them out to some of his new teammates. Among the group joining the club were Dioner Navarro, Chris Colabello, Kevin Pillar, Liam Hendricks, Ryan Goins, and Donaldson.

“He just got a bunch of them and we were like kids in a candy store,” Donaldson said. “They all showed up when we were playing the Yankees in New York. Then the Yankees security tried to tell us they were going to take us to jail if we rode them at the stadium. We were like, ‘€˜We don’€™t need to go jail so let’€™s put them away.’ I’€™m not going to jail.

“If the park was close enough we would ride together to the park with our own little posse.”

Price had evidently first been introduced to the scooters while in Detroit, with word spreading throughout the majors about the device. It was a following that may have started with former Red Sox reliever Mark Melancon, who helped his Pirates shorten their walk from the parking garage after doing a bit of research.

Then came the Tigers use of the product, with pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander publicizing their scooter-induced trips to the ballpark.

Hence, Price’s connection.

The scooter can go 500 miles on a $1 of electricity, while accelerating up to 20 mph. There is some talk of the new Red Sox ace spreading the word of his newfound transportation via national television at some point. But until such a plan is formally put in place, he will have to settle for his new teammates for the next marketing tool.

“We want to develop a culture that is very different than a big corporation,” said the co-founder of the San Franscico-based scooter company, Jay Sung. “So we try and make all of our companies happy and help the world, which is what David Price has been doing.”

Read More: Blue Jays, David Price, Red Sox,
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