The Red Sox can move two games above .500 for the first time all year when they host the Toronto Blue Jays in the second of three straight at Fenway Park.
Boston improved to 6-2 on its current 10-game homestand with a hard-fought 7-6 win in Monday’s opener. John Lackey survived a rocky start to pick up his team-leading fourth win.
While Lackey has been one of the more consistent Red Sox starters, Daisuke Matsuzaka has not. Through his first two starts since returning from a neck strain, he has been bitten by the big-inning bug.
Matsuzaka will aim for a more even outing against the Blue Jays, who walked seven and committed two errors in a sloppy effort Monday.
With a win, Boston will tie Toronto in the loss column and clinch a win in a series for the fifth time in seven tries.
WHEN AND WHERE
Blue Jays (19-15) vs. Red Sox (17-16) Tuesday, May 11, 7 p.m. (NESN) Fenway Park, Boston
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sox have won 15 of 22 meetings since the start of last year.
LHP Dana Eveland (3-1, 3.82 ERA) vs. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-1, 9.90 ERA)
Like the Red Sox as a whole, Matsuzaka has been extremely inconsistent through his first two starts. Overall, he has given up 12 runs in just 10 innings, but 10 of the runs have come in just two rough innings. In several of his other frames, Matsuzaka has looked very good.
He has also looked good in many of his starts against Toronto. In seven career starts vs. the Jays, Matsuzaka is 4-1 with a 3.86 ERA.
If you throw away a three-inning, seven-run disaster against Boston on April 26, Eveland is 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA in five starts. But that disaster in late April simply follows a career-long trend for the lefty.
In four lifetime starts against the Sox, Eveland is 0-2 with a monstrous 18.24 ERA. He has surrendered 25 runs — all earned — on 30 hits in just 12 1/3 innings.
Fred Lewis, LF Aaron Hill, 2B Adam Lind, DH Vernon Wells, CF Lyle Overbay, 1B Alex Gonzalez, SS Jose Bautista, 3B John Buck, C Travis Snider, RF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Mike Lowell, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Bill Hall, LF Darnell McDonald, CF
Catcher Victor Martinez has 12 RBIs in his last 10 games.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon has converted 22 straight save opportunities since July 30, 2009. He is also 22-for-22 lifetime against Toronto.
Boston is 4-0 vs. Toronto this year. Three of the meetings have been decided by one run. The fourth was a two-run game.
Brandon Morrow set a Blue Jays record by walking five batters in the second inning on Monday.
Outfielder Fred Lewis is batting .368 (14-for-38) in his last eight games.
Third baseman Jose Bautista has seven hits in the first eight games of Toronto’s 10-game road trip, but six have gone for extra bases (three home runs, one triple, two doubles).
BLACK AND BLUE
Right fielder J.D. Drew was scratched on Monday with a case of vertigo.
Starter Josh Beckett tweaked his back swinging in the cage before Monday’s game as pitchers get prepared to visit a National League park next weekend. He will be re-evaluated on Tuesday morning.
Center fielder Mike Cameron went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored in his first rehab game for Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. He served as the designated hitter and led off, but is expected to play center field Tuesday. Cameron has been out since April 18 with an abdominal strain.
No specific timetable has been set for left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury as he continues to recover from rib/chest injuries. He continues to take batting practice and is getting closer to a return, according to manager Terry Francona.
Reliever Ramon Ramirez left Saturday’s game with tightness in his right triceps muscle. He was deemed ready to go as of Monday.
Righty Boof Bonser allowed a run in three innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.
Infielder Jed Lowrie has gained four pounds and is combining baseball-related activities with strength and conditioning this week for the first time since he came down with mono in March. Francona said he could be playing games again in about four weeks.
Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion is playing extended spring training games in Florida as he recovers from a sore right arm.
Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski is also in Florida pitching in extended spring training games. He is on the DL with a broken left middle finger.
Fellow southpaw Brian Tallet threw on flat ground in Florida on April 28 as he attempts to come back from left forearm soreness.
While the two losses during Boston’s current 10-game homestand were difficult to watch, the club was won the other six and can reach a new high-water mark with a win on Tuesday.
Matsuzaka has had some very good starts against Toronto over the years. This would be a great time for him to put together his first quality start of 2010.