Red Sox Entering ‘Must-Win’ Territory As Daisuke Matsuzaka Faces Blue Jays

Red Sox Entering 'Must-Win' Territory As Daisuke Matsuzaka Faces Blue Jays With their stud left-hander on the mound against a team they had dominated all year, the Red Sox were in a great position Friday night to get back into the win column. Instead, they suffered the worst home loss of the season and see another day disappear from a shrinking calendar.

Jon Lester gave up a career-high nine runs in the shortest start of his career, lasting only two innings in a 16-2 loss. The rout kept Boston 6 1/2 games behind the American League East-leading New York Yankees.

It marked the second straight setback for the Sox against the Jays, who are just three games behind Boston in the loss column. It's hard to imagine, but the Red Sox could be a fourth-place team in the near future.

Daisuke Matsuzaka will try to help the Sox turn things around when he faces Toronto for the fourth time this season. Ricky Romero goes for Toronto.

WHEN AND WHERE

Blue Jays (64-57) at Red Sox (69-54)
Saturday, August 21, 7:10 p.m.
Fenway Park, Boston

HEAD TO HEAD

The Red Sox are 9-4 vs. the Blue Jays this season.

PITCHING MATCHUP

LHP Ricky Romero (10-7, 3.43 ERA) vs. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-4, 4.17 ERA)

Matsuzaka is 2-0 against Toronto this year and 6-1 in his career but had an uneven outing vs. the Jays two starts ago in the Rogers Centre, where he gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

The right-hander has lasted as long as seven innings just once in his last 10 starts. He is 4-2 at home.

If Romero never had to face the Red Sox, he might be considered one of the elite pitchers in the American League. He has given up 14 runs — 10 earned — in 8 1/3 innings against Boston this season and has an 8.51 ERA in his career vs. the Sox.

Take away his ugly outings in this AL East rivalry and Romero owns a 10-6 record and an ERA of 3.03 this season.

LINEUPS

Blue Jays Red Sox
Fred Lewis, DH
Yunel Escobar, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
John Buck, C
Aaron Hill, 2B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
John McDonald, 3B
Travis Snider, LF
Marco Scutaro, SS
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mike Lowell, 1B
Bill Hall, LF
Yamaico Navarro, 2B
Darnell McDonald, CF

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • Infielder Yamaico Navarro on Friday became the third Red Sox rookie (Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish) to get a hit in his first at-bat this year.
  • Shortstop Marco Scutaro is hitting .370 (10-for-27) during a seven-game hitting streak.
  • Tim Wakefield has worked in consecutive outings for the first time since April 16-17, 2000.

Blue Jays

  • First baseman Lyle Overbay's seven RBIs on Friday represent a career high.
  • Lefty Brett Cecil is 6-1 with a 2.11 ERA in eight starts against AL East opponents this year.
  • Catcher John Buck came off the DL on Friday to match a career high with four hits.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox

  • Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with soreness in his left foot. He played just two games after coming off the DL on Tuesday, having already missed nearly two months since first breaking the foot on June 25.
  • Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has another broken rib near where he was hurt earlier in the year, the result of a collision at first base Friday in Texas. He is out 4-6 weeks at minimum and will likely miss the remainder of the season.
  • Center fielder Mike Cameron will have season-ending surgery to repair an abdominal tear.
  • First baseman Kevin Youkilis had successful surgery to repair the torn right adductor muscle on his right hand. He will miss the remainder of the season.
  •  
  • Catcher Jason Varitek (broken right foot) had another scan and an exam Tuesday. His foot still has not fully healed, although Varitek is just about running at full speed. The scan was sent to a foot specialist in North Carolina and the team will have a conference call Friday with doctors down there.
  • Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is on the DL with an infection in his lower right leg. He remains at MGH receiving IV fluids and antibiotics.
  • Catcher Kevin Cash is on the DL with a left hamstring strain. He caught for Pawtucket on Friday and will play a rehab game at Lowell on Sunday.
  • Left-hander Hideki Okajima is on the DL with a right hamstring strain. He will pitch for Pawtucket on Saturday and Monday.
  • Right-hander Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.

Blue Jays

  • Left-hander David Purcey was placed on the disabled list earlier this week with a sore right foot.
  • Right-hander Jesse Litsch is likely out for the year with a labral tear in his right hip.
  • Right-hander Dustin McGowan is out for the year following right shoulder surgery. He may miss all of 2011.

OUTLOOK

We are often warned about using the term "must-win game" too soon in the season, but it's beginning to feel like a rather appropriate term for the Red Sox. In fact, Saturday's contest may fall into that category.

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