After the Red Sox were swept in Baltimore two weekends ago, they saw a critical 10-game homestand stretched out before them. And following two dismal losses to the New York Yankees in the middle of the homestand, it seemed as if the 10-game span would offer up more of the same struggles.
Yet, following Sunday's 9-3 win over the Yankees, the Sox are now 5-2 on the homestand and finish it up with three straight against the Toronto Blue Jays, a team they have already swept.
Boston will look to improve on that mark behind John Lackey in the opener of the series Monday night. Brandon Morrow starts for the Blue Jays, who have won nine of 11 since losing three straight to the Sox in late April.
WHEN AND WHERE
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sox have won 14 of 21 meetings since the start of last year.
RHP Brandon Morrow (2-2, 5.40 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (3-1, 3.89 ERA)
Throw out one bad start on Patriots' Day against Tampa Bay and John Lackey has given the Sox everything they could want.
In his five other outings he is 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA, including what may have been his best start five days ago against his old team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
In seven innings of a 3-1 win over the Angels, Lackey allowed just two hits — one a solo homer by Brandon Wood — and struck out four.
The big righty is 3-3 with a 3.31 ERA and an impressive 1.10 WHIP in 11 career starts against Toronto.
The 25-year-old Morrow has turned around a rough beginning to his 2010 campaign. After giving up 12 runs in nine innings of his first two starts, he has gone 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA in four subsequent outings.
Morrow, who has made just one career start against the Red Sox, has struck out 34 in 24 1/3 innings over the course of those four outings.
|Blue Jays||Red Sox|
|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
Victor Martinez C
J.D. Drew RF
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Darnell McDonald CF
- Former Red Sox shortstop Alex Gonzalez is one of three American League players with double digits in home runs. He had just eight homers in 132 games in 2010.
- Entering Sunday, second baseman Aaron Hill and designated hitter Adam Lind, the Blue Jays' No. 2 and 3 hitters, had combined to hit .132 in May.
- Center fielder Vernon Wells hit his 201st home run Sunday, leaving him one behind George Bell on the team's all-time list. Bell is third, with Joe Carter just one ahead of him at 203.
BLACK AND BLUE
- Center fielder Mike Cameron will begin a rehab stint at Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. He is expected to DH in his first game and play center field in his second. 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, but told the team he felt good Sunday and could pitch if needed.
- 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.
One of the teams the Red Sox are looking up at in the AL East is the New York Yankees. Although it lost the weekend series between the teams, Boston took the finale from New York on Sunday.
Another team directly ahead of the Sox is the Blue Jays, who continue to surprise and enter the series on a hot streak.
With upcoming series at Detroit, New York, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, and home meetings with AL Central-leading Minnesota, Boston has a formidable stretch in front of it. Taking care of business against Toronto, a team it expects to leapfrog at some point, is imperative.