The Red Sox seek their first series sweep of the season when they face the Toronto Blue Jays in the finale of a three-game series which has offered up a couple of nail-biters thus far.
Following a 13-12 slugfest in the opener, the Sox rode an outstanding effort by Clay Buchholz to a 2-1 victory Tuesday night. It continued a remarkable run of close games for Boston, which has recorded each of its last six wins by one run.
The final game of the set offers an opportunity for Jon Lester to get his first win of the season.
Mike Lowell, who pinch hit for David Ortiz in the eighth inning Tuesday and forced in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded walk, will likely be in the lineup against Toronto lefty Brett Cecil.
WHEN AND WHERE
Red Sox (10-11) vs. Blue Jays (10-11) Wednesday, April 28, 7 p.m. (NESN) Rogers Centre, Toronto
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sox have won 11 of their last 17 games at Rogers Centre.
LHP Jon Lester (0-2, 6.23 ERA) vs. LHP Brett Cecil (1-1, 5.40 ERA)
It was a baby step forward for Lester his last time out. After three rough outings, he managed to go 5 2/3 scoreless innings in a 4-3 win over Baltimore.
Lester was still tough on himself after, due in large part to the four walks he allowed. Control has been an issue as the southpaw has issued 13 free passes in 21 2/3 innings.
In nine career starts against Toronto, Lester is 4-3 with a 3.03 ERA.
Cecil was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace the injured Brian Tallet and picked up a win in his first start Friday at Tampa Bay. He gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.
The 23-year-old lefty has been reached for 14 runs — 12 earned — in just nine innings against Boston.
Marco Scutaro, SS Dustin Pedroia, 2B Victor Martinez, DH Kevin Youkilis, 1B J.D. Drew, RF Jason Varitek, C Adrian Beltre, 3B Bill Hall, LF Darnell McDonald, CF
Mike McCoy, LF Aaron Hill, 2B Jose Batista, RF Vernon Wells, CF Lyle Overbay, 1B Alex Gonzalez, SS Randy Ruiz, DH Jose Molina, C John McDonald, 3B
Boston is 32-25 against Toronto since 2007, despite being outscored by six runs in that span.
The Sox' run of six straight one-run wins is the team's longest such streak since 1943.
J.D. Drew is hitting .304 (7-for-23) with a home run and eight RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.
Center fielder Vernon Wells remains one home run shy of becoming the fourth player in team history to hit 200 with the club.
Right fielder Travis Snider is 1-for-18 in his last five games.
Closer Kevin Gregg had yet to issue a walk in 8 2/3 innings before coming on to walk Lowell on four straight pitches in the eighth inning Tuesday.
BLACK AND BLUE
A CT scan done on left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury revealed hairline fractures in four ribs. He was eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. Team officials said his treatment plan will not change and he will resume play only when his symptoms are gone. Ellsbury said Sunday that he feels about the same as he has for a week or so, and his baseball-related activities are "light."
Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 69 pitches in a four-inning simulated game Monday. He will be activated from the disabled list later this week and is expected to start Saturday in Baltimore. In three rehab starts in the minors while recovering from a neck strain, the right-hander was 2-0 with a 1.62 ERA.
Center fielder Mike Cameron was placed on the 15-day disabled list last Tuesday with a sports hernia. His term is retroactive to April 19. Both he and Ellsbury traveled with the team to Toronto.
Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a right shoulder injury.
Tallet was also placed on the DL on Friday with left forearm soreness. The move is retroactive to April 18.
Right-handers Scott Richmond and Jesse Litsch are both on the 60-day DL and targeting June returns.
Lester needs to take that next step, especially with his counterpart atop the rotation, Josh Beckett, continuing to struggle. The Jays give him a good chance to do so. Not only has Lester had great success in the series, but Toronto's free-swinging ways in 2010 present a juicy matchup.
The Sox get a day off after the series is over. They would love to take a sweep into the off day and then head to Baltimore, a second home to the club over the years, on a good note.