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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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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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Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Wade Miley vs. R.A. Dickey 09.19.15 at 8:07 am ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

The Red Sox send Wade Miley to the hill Saturday afternoon in Toronto against a familiar opponent in knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who will pitch against the Red Sox for the sixth time this season.

Miley (11-10, 4.41 ERA) last pitched eight days ago, allowing three runs on seven hits in seven innings against the Rays. He left with a 4-3 lead, but the Boston bullpen could not hold it, as Tampa Bay scored five in the eighth for an 8-4 decision.

The left-hander is 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays this season, both in Toronto. On July 2 he picked up the win despite allowing four runs on seven hits and seven walks in five innings. He previously faced the Jays on May 8, a 7-0 Boston loss in which he allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings, with eight strikeouts.

In three career starts vs. Toronto, Miley has a 9.24 ERA.

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Henry Owens vs. R.A. Dickey 09.08.15 at 8:20 am ET
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Henry Owens

Henry Owens

For the middle game of a three-game series at Fenway, 23-year-old Red Sox rookie Henry Owens will take on 40-year-old Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Owens (2-2, 5.87 ERA) began this year in Pawtucket. He was called up Aug. 4 when Rick Porcello was placed on the DL, and remained in the rotation after Porcello returned. Owens has made six starts, and four of them were promising — three runs or less. However, he struggled in his most recent outing, lasting just 1 2/3 innings against the Yankees and allowing seven runs (all earned) on six hits — including two home runs — and two walks in last Wednesday’s 13-8 loss. Owens retired the first four Yankees but then allowed eight straight to reach base.

“It wasn’t his best day. We all know that,” Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “He started off really strong and it happened pretty quick when they jumped on him.”

Owens was the victim of some rookie hazing on Sunday, as his teammates taped him to a pole in the dugout during their 6-2 victory over the Phillies.

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Monday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. R.A. Dickey 06.29.15 at 8:18 am ET
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In the first game of their series at Rogers Centre, the Red Sox send Clay Buchholz to the mound to face knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Buccholz’s last start came Wednesday night when the Orioles were at Fenway Park. He tossed seven innings and gave up just one earned run on eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. The outing was his third straight lasting six or more innings and his second consecutive one allowing fewer than two earned runs.

“[I] was able to throw some changeups in some big spots and was able to use the cutter on both sides of the plate,” Buchholz said Wednesday. “They hit some balls pretty hard right at some guys and defense made the plays on them, so that always helps, too.”

Over his last nine starts, Buchholz has a 2.48 ERA in 61 2/3 innings, holding opponents to a .246/.291/.336 slash line. Of those nine outings, the righty has only surrendered more than three earned runs twice, when he conceded four in consecutive starts on June 7 and June 13. Buchholz’s recent success has helped improve his season record to 5-6 and his ERA to 3.68.

The Blue Jays are one team that Buchholz is very familiar with, especially on the road in Toronto. With 26 career starts against the Jays, and 27 total appearances, Buchholz has been on the hill at the Rogers Centre 14 times. Overall, he has a 3.51 ERA and a 12-9 record through 166 2/3 innings vs. the Blue Jays, and that improves to a 2.30 ERA with a 9-3 mark over 94 innings in Toronto. Opposing Jays batters slash .233/.309/.320 against Buchholz, and he manages an even more impressive .208/.286/.270 when away from home. Out of teams that he’s made at least six starts against, Buchholz’s 1.138 WHIP at Toronto’s field is his second best. Only his 0.952 mark at Tropicana Field is better.

In three starts vs. the Jays this season, Buchholz is 1-1 with a 6.60 ERA, though two of those outings were at home. In his one start at the Rogers Centre, he pitched 6 1/3 innings while giving up just three earned runs with as many walks and strikeouts. At Fenway, he pitched 2 2/3 innings on April 28 and 4 2/3 innings on June 13 against Toronto, allowing four earned runs in each abbreviated start.

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Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. R.A. Dickey 06.13.15 at 8:35 am ET
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In the second game of a three-game set from Fenway, the Red Sox will send Clay Buchholz to the bump against R.A. Dickey.

The Red Sox‘ starter on Opening Day, Buchholz has posted a 3-6 record to go along with a 4.07 ERA this season. The right-handed hasn’t been the ace that some hoped he’€™d be, but he has pitched better than those numbers might suggest.

Buchholz sports a FIP of 2.92, and only allowed more than three earned runs in four of his 12 starts. Buchholz has pitched well enough to have a better record than he does, but the Sox offense often has lacked in providing run support for him. In seven of the 30-year-old’€™s starts, the Red Sox have scored just one run.

That being said, his last outing was not an ugly one. On Sunday against Oakland, he lasted just 4 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on 10 hits and two walks. For once, Buchholz got bailed out by the Sox offense, as the Sox won 7-4 and Buchholz got away with a no-decision.

“Every game is big from here on out,” Buchholz said June 2 after a recording a win. “Obviously we haven’€™t played up the caliber of players we have on this team. The bar is set pretty high for this club. There’s nobody in this clubhouse that doesn’t expect that. I don’t think anybody would want it any other way.”

With the exception of his most recent start, Buchholz has been very good over the past month. In his past six starts combined, he has thrown 41 2/3 innings and amassed a 2.59 ERA.

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Red Sox-Blue Jays series preview 06.12.15 at 10:09 am ET
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Jose Reyes (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Things are looking up for Jose Reyes and the Blue Jays, who have won eight straight after sweeping the Marlins. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

After a disappointing three-game sweep at the hands of the Orioles, the Red Sox head back to Fenway for a weekend series with the Blue Jays. The Sox had swept their first series of the season last weekend against the A’s and looked to build momentum down at Camden Yards.

The team failed to do so, losing all three contests and falling back to the cellar of the AL East, now seven games behind the division-leading Yankees. In the month of June, the Sox have gone an even 5-5, pushing their record to an inadequate 27-34 on the season.

The Sox have been unable to sustain momentum all year, and just followed their best series of the year with one of their worst.

While the Red Sox have struggled to the bottom of the muddled AL East, the Blue Jays sit at third in the division. They are three games back of the Yankees, one behind Tampa Bay, and a game ahead of the Orioles.

The Toronto squad comes to Yawkey Way on a hot streak, having won eight straight games. The recent winning streak has put the Jays back on the right side of .500, with a 31-30 record.

Toronto owns the most potent offense in all of baseball, having scored 325 runs. The Jays are a whopping 50 runs ahead of the second-place Yankees. The differential between the Jays and Yanks is more than that between the Yankees and the 25th-place Red Sox (228 runs).

The Blue Jays rank first in team slugging percentage, first in team OPS and third in batting average. With 75 home runs, they have knocked the fourth-most round-trippers in the majors.

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Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. R.A. Dickey 05.10.15 at 9:24 am ET
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The Red Sox will wrap up a three-game series in Toronto with Clay Buchholz on the mound against R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays.

Buchholz has had trouble maintaining consistency after his great start on Opening Day. In his last start, the 30-year-old went 6 1/3 innings against the Rays, allowing five runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out seven. He gave up two runs in each of the first two innings before settling in and not allowing Tampa Bay to score again until the seventh. In the second inning, Buchholz gave up a two-run home run to designated hitter Joey Butler. It was the first home run of Butler’s career. The loss dropped Buchholz’ record to 1-4.

“I felt like I settled in fairly decent,” Buchholz said after the game. “There were a lot of pitches I didn’t feel like I got the benefit of the doubt on on the strike zone, but you can’t let that affect you. There’s going to be a lot of times that’s the way you feel about it. For the most part I felt like I threw the ball well, the line doesn’t show for it and the loss is not good either.”

Buchholz takes his 6.03 ERA and 1.60 WHIP to face a Blue Jays lineup that has been one of the most productive in baseball to this point. In his last outing against Toronto, which came at Fenway Park in late April, he made it through just 2 2/3 innings and gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits and a walk while striking out four.

Through six outings, Buchholz has not been very fortunate in the run support department, as the Red Sox have been held to just one run in three of his starts.

In 13 career starts at the Rogers Centre, Buchholz is 8-3 with a 2.16 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, 61 strikeouts and 33 walks.

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Wednesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. R.A. Dickey 04.29.15 at 8:24 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello will make his fifth start of the season on Wednesday at home against the Blue Jays. Veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will take the mound for Toronto.

Much like the rest of the Red Sox rotation, Porcello (1-2) has gotten off to an inconsistent start to 2015. His lone win came on a four-run, eight-inning gem against Washington in his second start of the year. Since then, Porcello allowed eight runs in five innings against the Orioles and four runs in six innings, also against Baltimore. His ERA has climbed to 6.48 and his WHIP has jumped to 1.44, both second worst among Red Sox starters behind Wade Miley. He already has allowed six home runs and has a batting average against of .277, both worst among Boston starting pitchers. The 26-year-old has shown that he can pitch like an ace when he has his best stuff, but the Red Sox would like to see that much more consistently.

In his last outing against Baltimore, Porcello allowed four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out seven through six innings. He gave up a home run to Jimmy Paredes and received a no-decision, as the Red Sox mounted an eighth-inning comeback to get the win.

The most concerning stat for Porcello in his last outing may be the ground ball to fly ball ratio. For a pitcher who relies on getting outs on balls in play instead of strikeouts, Porcello would like to see more than three balls put on the ground as opposed to 12 in the air. Before his most recent start against Baltimore, Porcello spoke about his pitch selection, specifically about mixing in his rising four-seam fastball with his signature sinker.

“There’s a balance and there’€™s a fine line between throwing it the right amount and throwing it too much, you can get away from what I do best and what my strength is, which is throwing the sinker,” Porcello said. “The thing is I have the ability to throw a good four-seamer and generate some swings and misses. It’€™s just a matter of picking the right spots.”

In eight career games against Toronto, Porcello is 2-5 with a 4.70 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP, 15 strikeouts and 12 walks. He has allowed four home runs to the Blue Jays in 44 total innings.

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Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Ruby De La Rosa vs. R.A. Dickey 09.07.14 at 8:09 am ET
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Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

The Red Sox conclude their three-game home series against the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, as Ruby De La Rosa will battle with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

De La Rosa (4-5, 3.89 ERA), who started off the year in Triple-A Pawtucket, has found a spot in the major league rotation. Boston fell in his last start against the Rays last Monday, but De La Rosa delivered a quality performance. He went 5 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked none while allowing three runs. Manager John Farrell said after the game that De La Rosa’€™s good start could be attributed to good offspeed pitches.

“He’s powerful, he had better secondary stuff than last time out,”€ Farrell said. “I thought he made a number of quality pitches. So many foul balls, which is a product of very good stuff. That ran the pitch count up and we’re not at the point where we’re looking to extend him too far. I thought he kept composure. I thought he repeated his delivery well. That was a solid 5 1/3 innings of work today.”

Previously, De La Rosa pitched against the Blue Jays on Aug. 27. De La Rosa was bailed out by the Boston bats in that one, as he pitched just 4 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits. Jose Reyes was one of Toronto’€™s top performers in that game against De La Rosa with two hits in as many at-bats. Reyes also had one hit against De La Rosa in a July 24 start in Toronto. In that game, De La Rosa was charged with seven runs on nine hits in the loss.

Most of the 25-year-old right-hander’s issues have come on the road, while he’€™s pitched well in the confines on Fenway Park. At home, De La Rosa has pitched to the tune of a 3.16 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, while on the road his ERA and WHIP are 4.57 and 1.50, respectively.

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