|Wednesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. R.A. Dickey||07.23.14 at 8:45 am ET|
Buchholz (5-5, 5.46 ERA) wasn’t at his best in his latest outing last Friday, but he was effective enough to lead the Red Sox to a 5-4 win over the Royals. The right-hander gave up four runs, scattered 10 hits and had three strikeouts over six innings for the win. According to MLB.com, he’s the first Sox starting pitcher to win the last two games the Red Sox have played since Don Schwall in 1961.
“I gave up some loud outs and some loud hits for the first couple of innings, but that’s another team that swings the bat, and they put some balls in play that found some holes and led to a couple of runs,” Buchholz said after the game.
Buchholz is 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA since returning from the disabled list June 25. He’s allowed just one walk to 26 strikeouts in his last five starts.
Buchholz will try to keep this stretch going strong against a Blue Jays team he’s had mixed results against in 2014. He’s 1-1 against Toronto this season, giving up eight runs in 11 2/3 innings.
Buchholz’s last start against the Jays was especially brief. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings at Fenway Park on May 21. He gave up five runs (four earned), nine hits and two walks in a 6-4 Red Sox loss. Buchholz is 10-6 with a 2.71 ERA against the Blue Jays.
After three straight quality starts, Dickey (7-10, 3.95 ERA) struggled in his first outing since the All-Star break last Friday. He gave up five runs on six hits and two home runs over six innings in a 5-1 loss to the Rangers.
Dickey has lost six of his last seven starts. Recently, it’s been thanks in large part to a lack of run support. The Blue Jays have scored just two runs for the righty in his last two starts.
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Jon Lester vs. R.A. Dickey||04.27.14 at 9:25 am ET|
Lester is having the same luck John Lackey did in 2013 — he pitches well but gets no run support from his offense. The lefty sports a 2.67 ERA with a 1.337 WHIP through five starts, but he’s only 2-3. In his three losses, Lester has had a combined two runs from his offense, while only giving up six earned runs.
The 30-year-old’s last start, a 3-2 loss to the Yankees on April 22, was actually his worst of the season. Lester lasted only 4 2/3 innings while giving up 11 hits and eight runs (three earned), striking out seven and walking four on 118 pitches.
“I know everybody in here is busting their butt to do their best to get on a good run and put a full game together, whether it be pitching or defense or offense, whatever it may be,” Lester said after the game. “I hate saying it, but we’ve got a long ways to go and we’re going to figure it out on both sides of the baseball and we’ll be there — we’ll be fine.”
The southpaw has been good against the Blue Jays, especially in 2013, going 4-0 in six starts against the divisional foe with an ERA of 2.55. Overall, Lester is 15-7 with a 3.55 ERA vs. the Jays.
The 39-year-old Dickey has struggled in 2014, going 1-3 in five starts with a 5.90 ERA and a 1.621 WHIP. Dickey has given up a combined 13 runs in his last three starts, pitching 18 1/3 innings. While he historically sports a good walk-to-strikeout ratio, Dickey has walked 18 batters in 2014 while only striking out 24.
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Felix Doubront vs. R.A. Dickey||09.22.13 at 10:13 am ET|
Felix Doubront will make his first start in more than two weeks on Sunday afternoon against R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.
Doubront (10-6, 4.15 ERA) takes the mound for Boston for the first time since Sept. 6, after receiving time off to rest his arm.
On that day, Doubront allowed six runs on three hits and six walks at Yankee Stadium in just 3 2/3 innings. In the start before that, Doubront also lasted just 3 2/3 innings, as the White Sox pushed across four runs against the lefty at Fenway on Sept. 1.
“Mechanically, it’s a little bit off,” Doubront said after the start in New York. “I don’t know. I’ve got no words for what happened today. Just that I wasn’t able to repeat the fastball. I have to figure out something.”
On Aug. 4, Doubront shut out the Diamondbacks in seven innings and decreased his ERA to a season-low 3.56. But since then, Doubront has posted a 6.60 ERA and eclipsed four innings just twice in six starts.
With Clay Buchholz back, and John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Jon Lester looking strong, Doubront appears headed to the bullpen — if he’s on the roster at all — for the postseason.
Doubront has faced Toronto twice this season. He’s recorded a 3.97 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP in 11 1/3 innings.
The Blue Jays shipped away a number of top prospects and ate some unappealing contracts this offseason so they could contend for a playoff spot this year. But with a week remaining on the season, Toronto sits in last place in the AL East at 71-83.
One of the reasons for the Blue Jays’ disappointing season is a disappointing Dickey (13-12, 4.21 ERA).
The 38-year-old was acquired by Toronto in a trade with the Mets, one year after he won the NL Cy Young award. But his Cy Young form has not carried over into the American League.
|Red Sox-Blue Jays series preview||09.20.13 at 10:33 am ET|
It’s official: the Red Sox are playoff-bound. The Sox clinched a ticket to the postseason on Thursday with a win over the Orioles. But the celebration awaits, as the Red Sox look to wrap up the division title Friday night in the opener of a three-game weekend series.
The Sox will welcome the Blue Jays for the final home series of the regular season. They look to bounce back from a tough series against the Orioles, the only AL East team that owns a winning record against them. The Orioles took two of three from the Red Sox, handing them their first series loss since Aug. 16-18 against the Yankees. Despite that, the Sox still are playing some of their best baseball of the season this month, going 12-5 in September.
The Red Sox own the best home record in the American League at 51-27, second only to the Braves. The differences between the 2012 team and this year’s squad are obviously bountiful, but the turnaround at Fenway Park is huge. The Sox posted a .420 winning percentage in Boston last year and already are 17 wins better than the 2012 club at Fenway.
The Orioles may be the one team in the AL East that has the Red Sox’ number, going 9-6 against the Sox with three games left to play. But the Blue Jays have been relatively pesky for the Sox as well, taking seven of the 16 games in the season series thus far, including two of three the last time the two clubs met.
The Blue Jays have had a disappointing season, to say the least. After a busy offseason in which they acquired the likes of Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey, the Jays will finish as the only AL East club not in the mix for a playoff spot, and the only team in the division that will come in under .500. Aside from Reyes, the Jays’ acquisitions have fallen well short of expectations. However, the Blue Jays can play spoiler to the AL teams still in the race; they just took two of three from the Yankees, pushing them 3½ games back in the wild card chase, and have upcoming series with the Orioles and Rays.
The Blue Jays spent just two days above last place since April 20 and have not been out of the cellar since June 23. They surged briefly in June, pulling above .500 for a couple of games, hitting their season-high mark of two games better than .500, but slipped back to a losing record on June 28 and haven’t recovered since. They’ve been eliminated from any chance at postseason play and sealed their fate as a last-place team this season, now sitting 22 games behind the Red Sox.
But just because they’re in last place doesn’t mean they can’t do some damage. The Jays actually have one of the best offenses in the majors according to OPS, ranking fifth in the majors and fourth in the American League. They’ve got plenty of firepower, hitting 93 home runs, good for third amongst all teams. They’ve even scored the fourth-most runs in the majors. It’s their pitching that has been very, very subpar. They come in with the third-worst staff ERA amongst major league teams, better than just the Astros and the Twins.
Here are the pitching matchups for the final three Fenway games of the regular season.
Friday: Jon Lester (14-8, 3.75) vs. Esmil Rogers (5-7, 4.47)
Saturday: Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.15) vs. Mark Buehrle (11-9, 4.17)
Sunday: Clay Buchholz (11-0, 1.51) vs. R.A. Dickey (13-12, 4.21)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
• Craig Breslow again came through as one of the most reliable relievers on the team Tuesday when he came into a no-out situation with runners on second and third in a tie game, set to face the heart of a tough Orioles lineup. Breslow made quick work of the three, four and five batters, using just six pitches to escape the jam. The lefty, who has shown the ability to get outs against both righties and lefties, has allowed just one run and 10 hits in his last 22 2/3 innings, good for a tiny 0.40 ERA. Though Breslow doesn’t have overwhelming stuff (he’s averaging just under five strikeouts per nine innings this season), he’s proven to be one of the go-to options in late innings.
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Jon Lester vs. R.A. Dickey||04.07.13 at 8:04 am ET|
The Red Sox and Blue Jays will send their aces to the mound on Sunday afternoon, with Jon Lester and R.A. Dickey each making his second start of the season.
In Lester’s first start of 2013, the Sox beat the Yankees, 8-2, on Monday. Lester gave up two runs on five hits, striking out seven and walking two over five innings. He allowed both runs during a 34-pitch fourth inning and was pulled after throwing 96 pitches (63 strikes) through the fifth.
Manager John Farrell was encouraged by Lester’s outing, which he called “a good starting point.” Lester relied mostly on his fastball and cutter on Monday and will look to get his changeup and curveball working earlier against the Jays.
Dickey struggled to control his knuckleball in his Opening Day start against the Indians, a game the Jays lost, 4-1. He walked four and gave up all four runs over six innings, although one run was unearned as it came after a passed ball by his catcher, J.P. Arencibia.
The 2012 NL Cy Young winner also struck out four, and though his lack of control hurt him, the only time the Indians really hit him hard was a home run by Asdrubal Cabrera in the fifth.
Dickey has made nine career starts against the Sox with a 4.09 ERA, although he hasn’t faced them since 2009. In Lester’s 22 starts against Toronto, hitters have a .235/.290/.520 line against him.
Lester has done well against most of the Jays’ current hitters. Jose Bautista‘s OBP against him is just .288, although Bautista also has hit four homers off of Lester in 52 PAs. Melky Cabrera has had the most success against the lefty, with a .375/.400/.417 line.
Shane Victorino has faced Dickey 20 times, more than twice as many as any other Boston player, and has a .263/.300/.526 line with a home run and two doubles. Pedro Ciriaco hit a triple off of Dickey in his only appearance against him.
|Hot Stove: R.A. Dickey reportedly finalizes extension with Blue Jays||12.17.12 at 12:49 pm ET|
The Blue Jays and pitcher R.A. Dickey agreed on a two-year, $25 million extension, according to multiple reports, allowing completion of a trade that will send the 2012 National League Cy Young winner from the Mets to Toronto.
The Mets will receive highly regarded catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud., a 23-year-old who hit .333 with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs at Triple-A Las Vegas before tearing a knee ligament in June, requiring season-ending surgery.
New York also reportedly will receiver Single-A right-hander Noah Syndergaard and major league catcher John Buck, while sending catcher Josh Thole to Toronto.
Dickey, 38, went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA this past season. The knuckleballer is signed for $5.25 million in 2013 but could not agree on an extension with the Mets, leading to the trade.
|Where Red Sox, Mets stand on R.A. Dickey trade chatter||12.03.12 at 9:05 pm ET|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — According to a major league source, the Red Sox and Mets have had “very preliminary” talks regarding the availability of reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey in a trade. The source said that the two teams had not discussed the specific prospects whom it would take to land Dickey, but said that — consistent with a report from ESPNBoston.com’s Joe McDonald that the Mets wanted Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. – the Mets would be aiming for that level of elite prospect in any deal involving the knuckleballer, who went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and an NL-leading 230 strikeouts in 233 2/3 innings in 2012.
However, multiple major league sources characterized the possibility of a trade of Dickey to the Sox as extremely unlikely. Indeed, a second major league source said that the Sox have had no serious internal discussions about landing the knuckleballer.
The Sox do continue to explore the market for a fifth starter. GM Ben Cherington said, in general terms rather than regarding any specific pitcher, that the team is weighing the cost in dollars of free agents vs. the possibility of trading for a more inexpensive option.
“If a team is going to move someone, especially if there’s any length of control, asking for a lot, as we would if we were talking about someone,” said Cherington. “It’s steep and I think teams, and I put us in this category, are trying to balance that vs, the free agent options. The free agent options, some of them might cost a little more money but require less talent, so we’re just trying to balance those options, and weigh those options.”
Rob Bradford contributed to this report.
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