Buchholz Faces Another Ace With Halladay on the Hill

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Buchholz Faces Another Ace With Halladay on the Hill The Red Sox nearly blew the series opener in Toronto, but held on to move into a tie for the wild card with the Rangers, after Texas lost to the Twins on Tuesday. Now the Red Sox turn to Clay Buchholz to try and clinch the series against the Blue Jays.

Buchholz squared off against CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander in his previous two starts, and he will oppose another ace on Wednesday in Roy Halladay.

When and Where

7:07 p.m. ET (NESN), Aug. 19, 2009
Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Records

Red Sox  (67-51, 2nd  place in AL East)
Blue Jays (55-62, 4th place in AL East)

Skinny

With Tuesday?s win, the Red Sox evened the season series against the Jays at 5-5. In Toronto, they are 3-4 this season, and 7-9 in their last 16 games. The Jays have won back-to-back series in Toronto for the first time since 2006. A win on Tuesday night gives the Sox their first series win in Toronto this season. The Sox are 24-22 against the Jays since the start of the 2007 season, despite being outscored, 207-197. After this series, the two teams play their next six games against each other at Fenway.

Starting Lineups

Red Sox Blue Jays
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Marco Scutaro, SS
J.D. Drew, RF Aaron Hill, 2B
Victor Martinez, C Adam Lind, LF
Kevin Youkilis, 3B Lyle Overbay, 1B
David Ortiz, DH Vernon Wells, CF
Jason Bay, LF Randy Ruiz, DH
Casey Kotchman, 1B Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Nick Green, 2B Rod Barajas, C
Alex Gonzalez, SS Travis Snider, RF

Pitching Matchup

RHP Clay Buchholz (1-3, 4.45 ERA) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (13-5, 2.65 ERA)
Buchholz?s pitching matchup doesn't get any easier with this start. After being opposed by CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander, Buchholz now faces arguably the best pitcher in baseball. In his last start, July 13 against Detroit at Fenway, Buchholz took the loss, going a season-high seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

His only win this season came in his season debut, July 17 at Toronto. In that game, he gave up one run on four hits and three walks with three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. In three career starts against the Jays — all in Toronto — he is 1-2 with a 2.93 ERA (five earned runs in 15 1/3 innings).

As he has been most of this season, Halladay was dominant in his last start, allowing one earned run in eight innings to the Rays. He has gone at least seven innings in 21 of his 23 starts this season, best in the majors – the other two came immediately before and after a DL stint. In his past two starts, both wins, Halladay has posted a combined 1.69 ERA.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
The Sox have hit two or more home runs in 13 of their last 16 games since July 31.

The Red Sox lead the majors with 490 walks and are fourth in the AL with a .349 on-base percentage.

The Red Sox are fifth in the AL with a 4.21 team ERA. Sox pitchers are second in the AL in strikeouts with 910, behind the Yankees, who have 926.

The Sox bullpen has given up runs in 11 of its last 14 games with a 5.40 ERA (29 earned runs, 48 1/3 innings). It has allowed home runs in seven of the last 13 games, after not giving up any home runs in the previous 15 games since the All-Star break. 

Josh Beckett leads the staff with 17 quality starts in his 23 outings: 74 percent.

Of the Sox' seven quality starts since the All-Star break, Jon Lester has four, Beckett has two, and Buchholz has one.

Jacoby Ellsbury has 53 stolen bases on the season, one behind Tampa Bay?s Carl Crawford with 54.

Victor Martinez is batting .333 (21-for-63) with three home runs, 21 RBIs and four walks since joining the Sox.

Jason Bay has 26 home runs, including six in his last 10 games. He has reached the 25-home run mark in each of the last two seasons, and five times overall in his career. He is the seventh Sox left fielder with 25 or more home runs in a season.

The eight stolen bases the Sox allowed to Texas runners Saturday matched a season high, set May 3 by the Rays. The last team to allow eight or more stolen bases in a game twice in one season was the 1976 Twins.

In Tuesday?s game, Mike Lowell became the 43rd active player to reach the 1,500-game mark.

Lowell has hit safely in nine straight games at the Rogers Centre since April 3, 2008. David Ortiz is the last Sox batter with a longer streak in Toronto, a 12-game streak from May 30, 2003, through May 16, 2004.

Rocco Baldelli is one walk shy of 100 in his career and three doubles shy of 100.

Tim Wakefield is 38 innings shy of 2,728 1/3, to tie Cy Young for second in team history.

Blue Jays
Since the All-Star break, the Jays have a 3.98 ERA, third in the AL in that time. They are one of only three teams to post a sub-4.00 ERA since the break, with the Rangers (3.53) and Yankees (3.61). They have allowed the fewest hits (239), earned runs (104), and home runs (21) in the league.

Overall, Jays pitchers have a 4.19 ERA, entering day?s game, sixth in the AL. Starters are 43-37 with a 4.33 ERA, fifth in the AL. Relievers are 12-23 with a 3.89 ERA, sixth in the league. They are 18-for-32 in save opportunities.  

Jays pitchers gave up a season-high five home runs to the Red Sox on May 20.

The Jays have homered in 11 straight games and in 15 of their last 16.   

Entering Tuesday?s game, the Jays were fourth in the AL in hits with 1,104,  fifth with a .268 average, eighth in runs (557), ninth in OBP (.331), sixth in slugging (.434), sixth in home runs (139). They hit a season-high five home runs July 22 against the Indians.

Jays pitchers have 63 quality starts, leading the AL, fifth in the majors.

Marco Scutaro entered Tuesday?s game leading the league and fourth overall reaching base safely 208 times this season. He has reached base safely in all but two of his last 36 games.  

Aaron Hill has a team-leading 28 home runs. He lead all second basemen in that category, also the most by a middle infielder in Blue Jays history.

Randy Ruiz homered in each of his first two games as a member of the Blue Jays,  Aug. 11 and 12, becoming just the second Jay in team history to have his first two hits be home runs. The only other player to do so was Doug Ault in 1977.

Entering Tuesday?s game, Lyle Overbay was hitting .364 (12-for-33) since taking over the No. 4 spot in the lineup Aug. 1, with three home runs, seven RBI, eight runs scored and 10 walks.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 20 with a mild right shoulder strain. He pitched his third bullpen session in Fort Myers Monday, throwing 65 pitches.

Right-hander Tim Wakefield was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 18 with a lower back strain. He threw a bullpen session Tuesday, and could make another rehab start for the PawSox Friday, if he doesn?t require surgery.

First baseman/outfielder Jeff Bailey was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 5 with a left ankle sprain. He began a rehab assignment with the PawSox Aug. 3.

Catcher George Kottaras is on the 15-day DL with a lower back strain. He made his first rehab appearance Saturday for the PawSox, catching Wakefield for five innings, going 0-for-1 with two walks and strikeouts.

Outfielder Rocco Baldelli was placed  on the 15-day DL on Aug. 6 with a left ankle contusion. He is expected to begin a rehab assignment with the PawSox today.

Shortstop Jed Lowrie was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to Aug. 7 with ulnar neuritis of the left wrist.

Catcher Jason Varitek sat out Tuesday?s game with a sore neck.

Blue Jays
Right-hander Shaun Marcum (right elbow) was placed on the 15-day DL on March 27.

Right-hander Dustin McGowan (right shoulder) was placed on the 15-day DL on March 27.

Right-hander Jesse Litsch (right elbow) was placed on the 15-day DL on April 14.

Right-hander Bobby Ray (right shoulder) was placed on the 15-day DL on May 22.

Left-hander Scott Downs (left big toe) was placed on the 15-day DL on Aug. 2.

This Date in Red Sox History

In 1934, Julius ?Moose? Solters hit for the cycle in the first game of a doubleheader at Detroit. The Red Sox won that game 8-6, but lost the nightcap, 4-3.

Overheard

?We all know what?s wrong with him. At some point, he?s probably going to need surgery. If he has surgery this week, we?re probably not going to have him available next week. So, trying to figure out what to do."
— Manager Terry Francona on Tim Wakefield?s status

Press Box

Red Sox
The Sox eked out a win over the Jays.

Is John Smoltz headed to the Cardinals?

It is unsure when Tim Wakefield will be back.

Blue Jays
The Jays kept scratching, but couldn?t pull out a win.

The Jays hope to get some players back from the DL soon.

The Blue Jays struck out with three of their top four draft picks.

MLB
The Rangers acquired Pudge for the stretch run.

Strasburg is unlikely to pitch for the Nats this season.

The Cubs switched their closer.

Outlook

Buchholz has yet another difficult assignment ahead of him, opposing Halladay. The lineup was shaken up Tuesday night, with Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek unavailable, and Kevin Youkilis returning. We?ll see who answers the bell tonight. Expect Ortiz, a late add Tuesday, to be in tonight, possibly resting against a left-hander Thursday.  No one in the lineup will have an easy time facing Halladay.

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