The road has not been kind to the Red Sox this season. They are 28-33 away from Fenway Park 5-13 since the All-Star break. After falling a half-game behind the Rangers in the wild-card race, the Sox head north of the border hoping for better luck and better performances than they had in the heart of Texas.
Luckily for the Sox, Josh Beckett is on the hill Tuesday, fresh off his 14th win of the season. Kevin Youkilis also returns to the lineup after serving his five-game suspension.
When and Where
7:07 p.m. ET (NESN), Aug. 18, 2009
Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Red Sox (64-51, 2nd place in AL East)
Blue Jays (55-61, 4th place in AL East)
This is the Sox’ final trip to Toronto this season, where they are 2-4. The Sox are 5-4 overall against the Blue Jays, including a three-game sweep at Fenway in May. In their last trip to Toronto to open up the second half, the Sox won the first game of the series before losing the next two. After that, they were swept in Texas by the Rangers.
|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, 1B||Lyle Overbay, 1B|
|Jason Bay, LF||Vernon Wells, CF|
|Mike Lowell, 3B||Randy Ruiz, DH|
|David Ortiz, DH||Edwin Encarnacion, 3B|
|Nick Green, 2B||Rod Barajas, C|
|Alex Gonzalez, SS||Travis Snider, RF|
RHP Josh Beckett (14-4, 3.10 ERA) vs. LHP Ricky Romero (10-5, 3.70)
In his last start, Beckett became the majors’ first 14-game winner, beating the Tigers at Fenway Park on Aug. 12. In that game, he allowed two runs on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. He held the Tigers hitless until Curtis Granderson’s solo home run led off the fifth inning.
Beckett is facing the Blue Jays for the first time this season. In 2008, he faced Toronto twice, going 0-2 with a 16.71 ERA, allowing a combined 13 earned runs in seven innings. Overall, he is 3-5 with a 5.95 ERA in 10 starts against the Jays. In Toronto, he is 1-2 with a 6.85 ERA in four starts.
In his last start on July 12 against the Yankees, Romero took a no-decision, giving up three runs on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts in six innings. In his last two starts, he is 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA. In the 10 starts prior to that, he had posted a record of 7-1 with a 3.41 ERA. In two starts against the Sox this season, the rookie is 0-2, allowing a combined nine runs in 8 1/3 innings. In his last start against the Sox, opening the second half of the season July 17, he went 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits and five walks with eight strikeouts.
The Sox have hit two or more home runs in 12 of their last 15 games since July 3 with 26 homers in that span.
Entering Sunday’s game, the Sox were fourth in the AL with a .348 on-base percentage, fifth with a .441 slugging percentage, and eighth with a .263 average. They were also among the league leaders in doubles (tied for first, 247), triples (eighth, 18), home runs (fourth, 142), RBIs (fourth, 564), runs (fourth, 593), walks (second, 485), intentional walks (tied for first, 32), HBP (second, 52), sacrifice flies (tied for fifth, 35), steals, (fourth, 92) and total bases (sixth, 1,753).
Entering Sunday’s game, Sox relievers led the AL with a 3.50 ERA (134 earned runs, 344 2/3 innings), third in the majors behind the Giants (3.40) and Dodgers (3.47).
The bullpen also ranks among AL relief leaders in holds (second, 55), opponents’ average (third, .243), inherited runners scored percentage (fourth, 30.3), strikeouts (fourth, 312), saves (fifth, 31), and fewest runs allowed (first, 145), earned runs (second, 134), hits (fourth, 316), and home runs allowed (tied for third, 34).
The bullpen has given up runs in 10 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 since the All-Star break.
Entering Sunday’s game, Red Sox starting pitchers posted a 4.50 ERA, seventh in the league. The starting staff led the league with 588 strikeouts and were tied for second with 48 wins. Overall, Sox pitchers had combined for 900 strikeouts, second in the AL, and allowed 109 home runs, which is best in the league.
Beckett leads the staff with 17 quality starts in his 23 outings (74 percent).
Entering Sunday’s game, Sox starting pitchers had allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of their last nine games, with seven quality starts, going 2-3 with a 2.70 ERA (17 earned runs in 56 2/3 innings), 51 strikeouts and 21 walks.
On the road since the All-Star break, Sox starting pitchers have a combined 5.43 ERA (63 earned runs in 104 1/3 innings). Of their seven quality starts, Jon Lester has four, Beckett has two, and Clay Buchholz has one.
Jacoby Ellsbury is second in the majors with 53 stolen bases, behind Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford. He is one behind Tommy Harper’s single-season Sox record of 54, set in 1973. He has been caught eight times in 61 attempts, an 86.9 percent success rate. That would rank seventh since 1920 among players with at least 50 steals in a season — Rickey Henderson (in 1985, 88.9 percent, 80 steals, 10 times caught); Willie Wilson (1980, 88.8, 79/10); Bert Campaneris (1969, 88.6, 62/8); Wilson (1983, 88.1, 59/8); Henderson (1988, 87.7, 93/13); Wilson (1979, 87.4, 83/12).
Victor Martinez is batting 19-for-61 with three home runs, 11 RBIs and three walks since joining the Sox.
Jason Bay has 25 home runs, including five in his last nine 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 left fielder with 25 or more home runs in a season, joining Ted Williams (13 times), Jim Rice (6), Manny Ramirez (5), Carl Yastrzemski (3), Troy O’Leary (1), and Babe Ruth (1). Bay has hit 169 home runs as an outfielder since the beginning of the 2004 season, fifth in the majors (among outfielders) in that span, behind only Adam Dunn (210), Jermaine Dye (182), Ramirez (178), and Carlos Lee (172).
The eight stolen bases the Sox allowed to Texas runners Saturday matched a season high, set May 3 against the Rays. The last team to allow eight or more stolen bases in a game twice in the same season was the 1976 Twins.
Mike Lowell has played in 1,499 career games, one shy of becoming the 43rd active player to reach the 1,500-game mark.
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, which would tie Cy Young for second in team history.
Since the All-Star break, the Jays have a 3.93 ERA, third in the AL in that span. They are one of only three teams to post a sub-4.00 ERA since the break, joining the Yankees (3.39) and (Rangers (3.50).
Overall, Jays pitchers have a 4.19 ERA (entering Sunday’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 May 20.
The Jays have homered in 10 straight games (17 total) and in 14 of their last 15 (23 total). They have hit 37 homers since July 22, a 22-game span, good for second in the majors.
Entering Sunday’s game, the Jays were third in the AL in hits with 1,094, fifth with a .268 average, seventh in runs (555), ninth in OBP (.331), sixth in slugging (.434) and sixth in home runs (138). They hit a season-high five home runs July 22 against the Indians.
Jays pitchers have 63 quality starts, fifth in the majors, which leads the AL.
Marco Scutaro has led off an inning with a walk 30 times, first in the majors. He leads all leadoff batters with 68 walks.
Aaron Hill’s team-leading 28 home runs are tied for third in the AL and his 249 total bases are second. Entering Sunday’s game, he led all second basemen with 28 home runs, also the most for a middle infielder in Blue Jays history. He leads all No. 2 hitters in the majors in home runs, RBIs (80), extra-base hits (50) and total bases.
Randy Ruiz homered in each of his first two games as a member of the Blue Jays on Aug. 11 and 12, becoming just the second Jay in team history to have home runs for his first two hits. The only other player to do so was Doug Ault in 1977.
Roy Halladay’s 13 wins trail only Josh Beckett in the majors. His 2.65 ERA is second in the AL.
The Blue Jays are 16-28 against the AL East.
Vernon Wells is third all-time in team history with 1,321 hits. He is six doubles shy of tying Tony Fernandez for second on the team’s all-time list.
Entering Sunday’s game, Lyle Overbay was hitting .414 (12-for-29) since taking over the No. 4 spot in the lineup, with three home runs, seven RBIs, eight runs scored and 10 walks.
Black and Blue
Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive June 20) with a mild right shoulder strain. He was scheduled to pitch his third bullpen session in Ft. Myers on Monday.
Right-hander Tim Wakefield was placed on the 15-day DL (retroactive to July 18) with a lower back strain. He made his first rehab start for Pawtucket on Saturday and took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits with one walk and 3 K's in the 3 2/3 innings. He threw 63 pitches, 40 for strikes.
First baseman/outfielder Jeff Bailey was placed on the 15-day DL (retroactive July 5) with a left ankle sprain. He began a rehab assignment with the PawSox on 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 for five innings and going 0-for-1 with two walks and one strikeout.
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 on Tuesday.
Shortstop Jed Lowrie was placed on the 15-day DL *(retroactive to Aug. 7) with ulnar neuritis of the left wrist.
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
On August 18, 1967, 22-year-old Tony Conigliaro was hit in the left eye by a pitch from the Angels’ Jack Hamilton at Fenway Park. Conigliaro missed the rest of that Impossible Dream season and the injury would ultimately end his career.
“He’s one of the best players in the game. We tried to hold the fort down while he was gone."
— Dustin Pedroia on Kevin Youkilis, who missed the last five games while serving a suspension for brawling with Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello. The Sox went 2-3 in his absence.
The Sox hope Youkilis will provide a spark to their offense.
Victor Martinez has been contributing.
As expected, the Sox released John Smoltz Monday.
The Jays got hammered by the Rays on Sunday.
Overbay is enjoying his new role.
Romero is looking for his first effective start against the Sox.
David Wright hopes to play for the Mets again this season.
Four managers have withstood the test of time.
The Tigers acquired Aubrey Huff from the O’s.
The sagging Sox will get a couple of boosts Tuesday, with Beckett on the mound and Kevin Youkilis returning to the lineup after serving his five-game suspension for instigating a brawl with the Tigers at Fenway last week. The Sox, who could muster just six runs and 16 hits in their two losses in Texas, could use whatever spark Youkilis’ return may provide. Although Lowell has been the team's most consistent hitter recently, expect to see him and his surgically-repaired hip rested on the turf in Toronto.