With Wild Card Clinched, Red Sox Look to Snap Losing Streak

Finally. Despite a shaky outing by Clay Buchholz, a loss to the Blue Jays Tuesday night, and a five-game losing streak, the Red Sox clinched the American League wild card and a playoff berth Tuesday night — actually early Wednesday morning.

Thanks to the Angels beating the Rangers, the Red Sox "backed into" the playoffs. Coincidentally, the Angels will be the team the Sox face in the ALDS.

When and Where

7:10 p.m. ET (NESN), Sept. 30, 2009
Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.

Records

Red Sox  (91-66, 2nd  place in AL East)
Blue Jays (74-84, 4th place in AL East)

Head to Head

The Red Sox are now 11-6 overall against Toronto this season, and 6-2 against the Jays at Fenway Park.

Skinny

The Sox look to salvage a win from their three-game series with the Jays in their final game against Toronto this season. A win will also stop the Sox’ five-game losing streak. The Sox had swept their previous two series at Fenway against the Jays.

Starting Lineups

Blue Jays
Red Sox
Jose Bautista, RF Joey Gathright, CF
Aaron Hill, 2B Josh Reddick, LF
Kevin Millar, 3B Casey Kotchman, 1B
Vernon Wells, CF David Ortiz, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B Rocco Baldelli, RF
Rod Barajas, C George Kottaras, C
Randy Ruiz, DH Alex Gonzalez, SS
Travis Snider, LF Jed Lowrie, 3B
John McDonald, SS Chris Woodward, 2B

Starting Pitchers

RHP Tim Wakefield (11-4, 4.33 ERA) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (16-10, 2.90 ERA)

Wakefield did not get a decision in his last outing, Sept. 21 in Kansas City, his first start since Sept. 5 because of an ailing back. In his last start he gave up five runs, four earned, on five hits and seven walks with two strikeouts in five innings. It was the most walks he’s allowed since May 27, 2005, at Yankee Stadium. He left the game with a 9-5 lead, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it, turning in a 12-9 loss. 

This is his 51st appearance and 41st career start against the Blue Jays, the most among active pitchers.  Andy Pettitte is next with 39. He is 17-12 with one save and a 3.81 ERA (120 earned runs in 283 1/3 innings) in his career against the Jays. In his last 10 starts going back to the 2007 season against Toronto he has a 3.43 ERA (25 earned runs, 65 2/3 innings). In five home starts in that time, his ERA falls to 2.83 (11 earned runs in 35 innings).

In his last start, Sept. 25 against the Mariners, Halladay was his typical dominant self. He struck out nine and did not give up a walk, scattering seven hits. He leads the majors with eight complete games and has a career-high three shutouts this season. 

In three outings against the Sox this season, he is 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
In their longest stretch of the season without an off-day, 20 games in 20 days, the Sox are 7-8, with five games remaining.

The Sox are one loss shy of tying their season-long six-game losing streak from Aug. 4-9. 

The Sox grounded into four double plays Tuesday, their most since hitting into the same amount June 10, 2008, against the Orioles.

On Tuesday, Clay Buchholz matched a season high for the third time with seven runs allowed. 

Jacoby Ellsbury had his team-high 58th multi-hit game, passing Reggie Smith (1970) and Johnny Damon (2004) for the most by a Sox center fielder since 1954.

Victor Martinez has hit safely in each of his last 26 starts since Aug. 28, a new career high. He has hit .347 (35-for-101) with two home runs and 15 RBI in those games. His streak is one shy of matching an AL high by Ichiro Suzuki this season.

J.D. Drew
hit his 22nd homer of the season Tuesday. He has reached base safely in 24 of his last 27 games, batting .358 (29-for-81) with six home runs, 16, RBI, and 16 runs in that time.

Blue Jays
The Jays are on a season-high five-game win streak.  

The Jays hit six home runs Tuesday, the most they’ve hit in a game since knocking the same number July 8, 1999, against the Orioles.  

The Blue Jays have hit 31 homers in their last 18 games since Sept. 11.

Adam Lind hit a career-high three homers Tuesday. It was the first three-plus homer game for a Blue Jays player since Frank Thomas hit three on Sept. 17, 2007, against the Sox in Toronto. Lind is the first visiting player to hit three homers in a game at Fenway since Thomas did it for the White Sox Sept. 15, 1996.

Jose Bautista
’s lead-off home run Tuesday was his first of the season, the fourth of his career, and his fist since June 17, 2007, against the White Sox while with the Pirates.

Fro the second straight game, Toronto scored four runs in the first inning off the Sox.

In his first start at third base since Aug. 11, 2003, while with the Marlins, Kevin Millar fell a triple shy of the cycle Tuesday, going 3-for-4 with a single, double and his seventh home run of the season.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Jon Lester is day to day after taking a line drive off his knee Friday but is expected to make his start Thursday against the Indians

Tim Wakefield has been dealing with an ailing back and is expected to start Wednesday against the Blue Jays.

Josh Beckett missed his start Monday because of back spasms. He is expected to make his next start Saturday against the Indians.

Right-hander Junichi Tazawa was placed on the 60-day DL Monday with a mild left groin strain.

Blue Jays
Right-hander Shaun Marcum is on the 60-day DL with an elbow injury.

Right-hander Dustin McGowan is on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder injury.

Right-hander Jesse Litsch is on the 15-day DL with a right elbow injury.

Right-hander Robert Ray is on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder injury.

This Date In Red Sox History

In 1916, Babe Ruth beat New York, 3-0, earning his 23rd win and ninth shutout of the season.

Overheard

“Yeah, because we haven’t really hit him well this year at all. So, I guess his location was a bit off and those balls we hit hurt him.”
– Toronto manager Cito Gaston, on if he was surprised at what his team was able to do to Clay Buchholz.

Press Box

Red Sox
The Red Sox’ plans to celebrate were temporarily put on hold

Clay Buchholz’s shaky outing ended his strong stretch.

The Sox received good news on the injury front.

Blue Jays
Adam Lind powered the Jays’ win.

The Jays played spoiler once again, this time temporarily.

Edwin Encarnacion
is out with an injury, and Marco Scutaro may be done for the season.

MLB
The Tigers and Twins are still battling for the AL Central title.

Was Clint Barmes’ catch really that spectacular?

The Phillies are closing in on the NL East.

Outlook

Facing Roy Halladay is never an easy task, and certainly a daunting prospect to end a five-game losing streak. And with Tim Wakefield’s back ailing, it won’t be any easier. But, maybe with the playoff spot finally clinched — thanks to the Angels beating the Rangers — a fire may be lit under the Sox.

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