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The Blue Jays completed a sweep against the Red Sox Sunday afternoon, getting to Clay Buchholz for four runs as he fought through nine innings of work in a 4-3 loss.
The Red Sox offense would get off to an atypically competent start to the day in the second. Batting sixth for the first time in a long while, with Cody Ross on base, Jacoby Ellsbury caught a changeup that stayed belt-high over the outside of the plate and launched it to deep right field. With the ball dropping into the bullpen, the Sox took a rare early lead, 2-0 over the Jays.
Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, had taken care of business in the first couple of innings, working around a pair of walks without much difficulty. The third would prove little different, just with a single taking the place of the walks. All was going well until the fourth, when Buchholz experienced a bad case of Deja Vu.
In his last start against Seattle, Buchholz had pitched well in the first three innings, and then suddenly saw the Mariners squeeze ground ball after ground ball through the infield defense. Just like clockwork, up came the fourth inning against the Blue Jays, and in the blink of an eye every single thing was finding a hole and making its way into the outfield. Three runs would come across on tough-luck single after tough-luck single, leaving the Sox behind.
Carlos Villanueva managed to hold the lead for the Jays only until the sixth, where he was again victimized by the longball. A high slider to Dustin Pedroia would cost him as Pedroia found the Monster seats for a solo shot, evening the score at three-all.
After the unfortunate fourth, Buccholz would go into total lockdown mode for the Red Sox. Three up and three down in the fifth, the sixth, three in the seventh, and the eighth left him with 12 straight retired. The Jays would only break the streak at thirteen, with a Rajai Davis single into right field. It would be enough. A steal of second base and an Anthony Gose single moved him to third as Buchholz' pitch count rose above 110, and Omar Vizquel managed to put it in the air deep enough to score the go-ahead run.
With the Sox failing to respond in the bottom of the ninth, the game was over, and the Blue Jays had their sweep.
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Between the current state of the Red Sox and the season opener for the Patriots, this may be the least-watched game in recent Red Sox history.
Still, for those interested, we'll keep you up-to-date on what's going down in Fenway Park.
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 3, End 8th -- The top of the lineup goes 1-2-3 in the eighth. The inning includes a pinch-hitting appearance from Daniel Nava, whose wrist is apparently well enough for him to take some hacks in place of Ryan Kalish--though the AB ends in a ground ball out.
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 3, Mid 8th -- Buchholz grabs another 1-2-3 frame to make it 12 straight retired. He could well make it through the whole game at this pace.
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 3, End 7th -- It's not the first 1-2-3 inning of the game for Toronto, but it's the first inning to come without a baserunner, erased later or not, courtesy of Steve Delabar, in for Carlos Villanueva.
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 3, Mid 7th -- Buchholz is again through seven innings despite a more-unfortunate-than-bad fourth inning. He's retired nine straight, and looks set to pitch into the eighth with a relatively low pitch count.
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 3, End 6th -- Villanueva leaves a slider very high and right over the plate to Dustin Pedroia, and the second baseman doesn't miss it at all. Launching a high fly ball, Pedroia finds the Monster seats and brings the Sox back to even with the Jays.
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 6th -- Another 1-2-3 inning for Buchholz keeps the Jays within easy reach--or what would be easy reach were the Red Sox' lineup in a better state.
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2, End 5th -- Ryan Kalish' bat has been coming around, and it keeps working as he draws a walk in the fifth. His baserunning has been declining just as quickly, however. After being tagged out at third thanks to a bad baserunning decision in the first, Kalish gets picked off at first by Jeff Mathis this time to waste another opportunity.
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 5th -- Buchholz recovering with a 1-2-3 fifth is neither unwelcome nor terribly unexpected. Like against Seattle, he's not pitching particularly poorly, he just doesn't have results to show for it.
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2, End 4th -- A Mike Aviles double play ensures that Cody Ross' leadoff single will not serve to spark a rally in response to Toronto's, leaving them still trailing after four.
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 4th -- And Buchholz' nightmare resumes right where it left off last time: a bunch of ground balls finding holes and letting the Blue Jays nickle and dime him to death. It happened in the fourth in Seattle, and it's happened in the fourth today against Toronto. There wasn't a lot behind any of the four hits, but all of them found their way into the outfield, and at the end of it the Jays have three runs on the board to Boston's two.
Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0, End 3rd -- The Sox respond with a stranded baserunner of their own, as they leave Dustin Pedroia on first after a single.
Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0, Mid 3rd -- The Blue Jays are looking for all the world like the Red Sox today. One baserunner an inning--this time a Brett Lawrie single with one down--and one wasted baserunner an inning, as Colby Rasmus goes down on a sacrifice bunt and Mike Aviles snags Edwin Encarnacion's bid for a hit in the air to end the inning short.
Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0, End 2nd -- For just the third time this year, Jacoby Ellsbury connects just right. A changeup floated belt-high over the outside part of the plate from Carlos Villanueva is all-too-easy a target for the outfielder, who launches the ball high and deep to right, depositing it into the bullpen for a home run. With Cody Ross already on base with a walk, it gives Boston an all-too-rare early two-run lead.
Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0, Mid 2nd -- Another walk from Clay Buchholz is certainly concerning, but it's not damaging, as manages to get the lead runner on a bunt attempt from Anthony Gose, Jeff Mathis strikes out, and Omar Vizquel is good for a flared fly out to left that ends the frame.
Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0, End 1st -- A bit of awful baserunning from Ryan Kalish costs the Red Sox in the first. After he led off the inning with a single, Kalish was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Scott Podsednik. His mistake was not remaining there when Dustin Pedroia grounded out to third. With Kalish off on contact, Brett Lawrie was able to tag him out and fire on to first for the second out, ending the inning with a double play.
Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0, Mid 1st -- Clay Buchholz needs to do a bit of work to get through the first inning, but he just has to work around a two-out walk to escape without allowing any damage. A solid effort in the first, but as we learned last night, that's not necessarily a guarantee for the rest of the night. Hopefully Clay is different.
The Red Sox will mix up their lineup for the final game of their series against the Jays, hoping that a new look will give them different results and help them to dodge the sweep. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
The "new look," however, doesn't look very good. Ryan Kalish leads off with a .260 OBP--a horrendous mark, even if he has been better of late--with Scott Podsednik second, dropping Jacoby Ellsbury all the way down to sixth in the order given his recent struggles.
Like every other lineup we've seen, it's almost certainly all about Bobby trying to make the lineup feel deeper--to provide something beyond 2-4. The problem is that just may not be possible with the active roster being what it is.
Boston Red Sox (63-77)
Toronto Blue Jays (63-75)
In a fight to avoid last place in the American League East, the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox will meet Sunday in Fenway Park at 1:35 p.m. ET. Toronto has won the series, winning 9-2 on Saturday night and 7-5 on Friday.
Pitching today for Boston will be Clay Buchholz (11-5, 4.47 ERA), whose last start against Toronto was a 7-2 Red Sox victory in early June. The Sox will be facing Carlos Villanueva (7-5, 3.42 ERA), who has struggled as of late. Villanueva has just one win over his past seven starts, with his most recent outing seeing him give up six earned runs to the AL East leading Orioles.
With just a few series to go, Boston is looking to avoid its first last-place finish in the AL East since 1993. The Jays and Sox will meet again next weekend in Toronto.
The game will be broadcast on SN-1 in Toronto and on NESN in the Boston Area.
It took five hours thanks to two lengthy rain delays, but when all was said and done, the Boston Red Sox had fallen to the Toronto Blue Jays 9-2, ensuring a fourth straight series loss, and leaving them at 1-10 in their last 11 games.
It only took into the second inning for it to be clear what direction this game was taking. On his first pitch of the frame, as rain soaked spectators and players alike, Matsuzaka turned to watch a rocket shot into the Monster seats from Yunel Escobar. A single to Kelly Johnson and plunking of J.P. Arencibia followed, and Adeiny Hechavarria quickly made it 2-0 with a double that bounced over the head of Pedro Ciriaco and down the left field line.
Daisuke would only record his first out of the inning after an Anthony Gose single scored both the runners, making it 4-0. And with that out coming on a fly ball after Anthony Gose stole second and advanced to third when Ryan Lavarnway's throw bounced off him and into center field, even that would go for a sacrifice fly and run scored. After a Colby Rasmus single, Daisuke's night was done, with five runs in and just one out in the second.
Boston's bullpen would hold strong, with Alfredo Aceves pitching to the first rain delay in the fourth, and Andrew Miller to the second in the fifth.The Sox would even manage to push across a pair of runs in the bottom of said inning, thanks to Aaron Laffey being left out after the first rain delay, clearly cooling down as the Sox struck with a walk and three singles. The second delay would come with two down, however, leaving Brad Lincoln free to enter and clean up the last out for him after play resumed.
Mark Melancon took over with two scoreless from there, but the game got completely away from the Sox in the last couple of innings. Three straight singles off of Vicenete Padilla proved enough to make it 6-2 in the top of the eighth, and when Andrew Bailey surrendered a no-doubt three-run shot in the top of the ninth to Anthony Gose, it was clear there was no coming back.
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It's raining in Fenway, but the Sox and Jays are going to try to get the game in. We'll keep you up-to-date on the soggy action as it goes down in Boston.
Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 2, End 8th -- A leadoff single blooped into right by Jose Iglesias is wasted as the Sox fall in order afterwards. They're just three outs away from 1-10.
Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th -- This time, the Jays don't wait around for the Red Sox to rally. Getting to Vicente Padilla for three straight singles to start the inning, they add a sixth to their tally with Adam Lind scoring Cody Rasmus.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- Three more quick outs for Lincoln leave the Sox with just six to go and three runs to make up. This was when they started their rally last night. Are they too late to give it a go this time?
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th -- Melancon records another strong inning, picking up his third strikeout of the night between two ground balls. It's performances like this which show us what the Sox hoped to get, but unfortunately they're all-too-elusive when it really counts.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, End 6th -- Lincoln responds in kind, picking up two strikeouts for himself in a 1-2-3 bottom half and sending the game to the seventh with the Jays still up three.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, Mid 6th -- Mark Melancon does a creditable job against the Jays in the sixth, striking out two more in a 1-2-3 frame. The Sox may avoid using all of their pen tonight if the arms taking the mound can continue to be quite so effective.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, End 5th -- Four pitches from Brad Lincoln later, and we're through five. It only took 4 hours!
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, Bottom 5th -- John Farrell refuses to pull Aaron Laffey, clearly struggling after the long delay, and the Red Sox go to work on him. A leadoff walk to Ryan Lavarnway was followed up by back-to-back singles from Mike Aviles and Scott Podsednik, scoring Lavarnway. Laffey lucked into a pair when Jose Iglesias hit a flare towards first and Adam Lind was able to both stretch out to corral the ball on the fly and tag first for the double play, but a line drive off the bat of Pedro Ciriaco made it 5-2.
And that's when the rains came. One out from making the game official, we're back in a delay.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- Andrew Miller enters for Alfredo Aceves post-delay and gets three quick outs, striking out Colby Rasmus in the process.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- Jacoby Ellsbury breaks up Aaron Laffey's no-hitter with a leadoff single in the fourth, and then the game goes into a rain delay for nearly an hour. After the Sox get back, they waste little time in ending the inning. Dustin Pedroia pops out on the first pitch he sees, and while Mike Aviles gets hit by a perhaps-cold Laffey, he's out at second on the very next pitch as Mauro Gomez grounds into a double play.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- Aceves gets the first two batters to go down on strikes before inducing a ground ball off the bat of Rajai Davis. Not too bad.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- Three innings in and the Red Sox are still without a hit against Aaron Laffey. This time it's Scott Podsednik, Jose Iglesias, and Pedro Ciriaco providing the outs, however--not exactly an intimidating bunch to begin with.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- Alfredo Aceves works around a leadoff single to keep the Blue Jays off the board. It's good to see him back where he's been most comfortable in his career: long relief.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- Ryan Lavarnway draws a two-out walk, but Anthony Gose helps to move this game along as rain threatens, sliding into the wall to make the grab on a Mike Aviles fly ball into difficult foul territory for the third out.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- A~nd Daisuke Matsuzaka is terrible. One-upping his awful performance on the road trip, Matsuzaka fails to even make it out of the second inning this time. It only takes him one pitch to give up a run on a solo shot put on a line into the Monster seats by Yunel Escobar. Two pitches later and he's allowed Kelly Johnson to reach first with a sharply hit single, and his fifth after that catches J.P. Arencibia's jersey. A double bounced over the head of Pedro Ciriaco by Adeiny Hechavarria scores both runners, and a single from Anthony Gose makes it 4-0
Daisuke finally records the first out on a fly ball to center, but it comes only after Gose has stolen second and moved to third when Lavarnway's throw caught him in the back, and so works as a sacrifice fly all-the-same. Colby Rasmus quickly follows the sacrifice with a single, and Matsuzaka is unceremoniously pulled back to the dugout for Alfredo Aceves. Luckily, the deluge ends there, courtesy of a baserunning mistake by Rasmus, who forgot there was just one out in the inning and found himself easily doubled up at first.
Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0, End 1st -- However good Daisuke may be against the Blue Jays historically, the Red Sox are not particularly good against pitching in recent memory. Toronto has wisely chosen to have Aaron Laffey throw the ball home instead of setting up a tee, and so it goes that the Sox find themselves retired in order in the first.
Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0, Mid 1st -- Daisuke looks surprisingly sharp in the top of the first, striking out both Rajai Davis and Adam Lind around a walk to Edwin Encarnacion to get through the frame without damage. Daisuke hasn't been good often, but the Jays are a team he historically dominates, so perhaps this is going to be his day?
The Red Sox will look for an all-too-rare win Saturday night as Daisuke Matsuzaka attempts to bounce back from a disaster game in Oakland.
To do so, he'll have to find a rhythm with Ryan Lavarnway behind the plate. The young call-up has been abysmal not just at the plate, but behind it as well, so that might be a case of easier said than done.
With Lavarnway behind the plate, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will sit for the day. He was removed late in last night's game with back spasms, so that could be what's keeping him out today, rather than just a managerial decision. Mike Aviles will play at DH, with Jose Iglesias getting the nod at short.
Boston Red Sox (63-76)
Toronto Blue Jays (62-75)
The Sox will send Daisuke Matsuzaka to the hill in search of just his second win of the year. Dice-K sports a 6.15 ERA in seven starts this season. Walks have contributed to Matsuzaka's struggles this year, as they have in the past.
Aaron Laffey will make his first start for the Blue Jays since Aug. 22. He currently has a 4.46 ERA and a record of 3-5.
Laffey starts in place of Ricky Romero, whose turn in the rotation is being skipped. Romero has really struggled in the second half, posting a 7.98 ERA and and 0-12 record in his last 13 starts.
Saturday's game will begin at 7:10 PM and can be found on NESN.
Nothing personal, Bobby, but it's not working.
Broken pitchers cost the Sox big as they fell to the Blue Jays 7-5 in Fenway Park.
Making his third start since a short trip to the disabled list, Felix Doubront seems to have confirmed that he remains broken. While the first run that came across was caused by little more than a chopper past first base in the opening frame, as Doubront's pitch count, he became less and less effective. The third saw Edwin Encarnacion catch a hanging changeup for a home run, and in the fourth it was a flat fastball that cost Doubront a two-run shot.
A triple into the triangle to lead off the fifth would end Doubront's night, with the runner scoring on a blooper off Clayton Mortensen. That made the lead 5-0 in favor of the Jays, as the Sox had been picking up exactly where they'd left off on their road trip: stranding baserunners. Like clockwork, the Sox would send one man to the basepaths in each of the first four innings, and then leave them sitting there come the end of the inning.
The breakthrough, such as it was, finally came in the fifth inning, and was thanks largely to some defensive mediocrity by the Jays. Ryan Kalish was the man to score, reaching on a one-out bunt and then advancing to third on a Scott Podsednik single. Dustin Pedroia nearly ended the inning right there with a ground ball that could have been two, but Edwin Encarnacion could not pick the ball at first, allowing the run to score.
While Clay Mortensen, Rich Hill, and Chris Carpenter were busy holding the Jays down through the eighth, the Sox actually managed to climb back into the game. Mauro Gomez knocked home Pedro Ciriaco after a walk and a stolen base to make it 5-2 in the seventh, and Dustin Pedroia caught an inside fastball, sending it out of Fenway entirely to make it 5-3 after eight.
Unfortunately, what chances they had would quickly go up in a puff of smoke thanks to the other clearly broken pitcher on the Red Sox' roster: Daniel Bard. While a good play by Dustin Pedroia got Anthony Gose hung up between third and home after he reached third with nobody out, Bard did not make use of his newfound fortune, offering up a slider over the plate to Colby Rasmus, who jacked it into the right field stands for a two-run shot.
Mauro Gomez would go deep in the ninth. With two runs scoring on the shot, however, it only served to make the Bard homer more painful. The Sox failed to continue their rally, and fell for the ninth time in ten games.
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The rain is gone, the tarp is pulled, now all that's left is two bad baseball teams playing bad baseball.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 3, End 8th -- Dustin Pedroia catches an inside fastball and sends it out of Fenway Park entirely. The Sox are clawing their way back into this, but they'll need to work fast in the ninth to make it count for anything.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th -- Rich Hill does the honors for the bullpen this time, recording a 1-2-3 inning. It'll be interesting to see how the pen shakes out for 2013 given all the talent available to the Sox there.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- The rarest of all sights, a Pedro Ciriaco walk, contributes to a second run for the Red Sox, as the infielders steals second and scores on a Mauro Gomez single to center. Rajai Davis, however, throws himself backward into the Monster to make a grab on a long fly ball from Scott Podsednik, and is able to easily double up Mauro Gomez at first to end the inning.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1, Mid 7th --
Theo Epstein Chris Carpenter picks up a strikeout and two ground ball outs around a walk to hold the Blue Jays to the five they earned off Doubront. It's his first full inning with the team.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1, End 6th -- Having picked up their run, the Red Sox neglect to even put a runner on this inning--a clear break from their earlier strategy of leaving runners stranded. It's a bold move. Let's see how it works out for them, Cotton.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1, Mid 6th -- Clayton Mortensen puts on a show in relief of Doubront, striking out the side in the sixth. It took him a ton of pitches, however, so he might not be long for this game.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1, End 5th -- The Red Sox tried their hardest to screw up another nice opportunity, but this time the Blue Jays didn't let them. After a bunt single got Ryan Kalish on base, Scott Podsednik found right field with a ground ball, moving Kalish to third. Dustin Pedroia, however, seemed ready to end the inning, hitting a ground ball to third that screamed double play, but Edwin Encarnacion could not come up with the low throw to first, letting Kalish come in the back door to score.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- Another disappointing night for Felix Doubront comes to an end after Colby Rasmus leads off with a triple into the triangle. Clayton Mortensen does a solid job of cleaning up behind him, but a jammed blooper ends up costing him the RBI single that makes it 5-0, Jays.
Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- The Red Sox are wasting chances much in the way the Red Sox often do. A fly ball out of the leadoff spot for Cody Ross sends Rajai Davis crashing into the Monster, unable to come up with the ball and allowing Ross to coast into second base. James Loney moves him over to third, with a ground ball, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia's fly ball isn't deep enough to score him, and Mike Aviles grounds out to end the frame with another runner stranded.
Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- Of course, more pitches is only going to make things worse for a guy like Doubront, so it's not terribly surprising to see more damage in the fourth. After a walk to Kelly Johnson with two outs, it's a flat fastball to Moises Sierra that does the lefty in. Sierra manages enough power to get the ball well out to the deepest part of the Monster, and just like that the lead is doubles.
Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- This really is looking frighteningly similar to the Seattle series now. Another inning makes for another Red Sox baserunner, but even with Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury following Scott Podsednik after his single, Boston ust can't ground anything together, leaving him stuck at second.
Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- Right on cue, as Felix Doubront draws within a couple pitches of 50, he hangs a changeup to Edwin Encarnacion. The infielder hooks it, and says goodbye as the ball bounces off the Triple-A sign over the Monster for a massive solo shot that puts the Jays up by two.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- The Sox get another baserunner, this time thanks to a two-out walk from Mike Aviles. Pedro Ciriaco, however, is falling back to Earth hard, and ends up flying out to shallow left field (where Yunel Escobar manages to make a nice catch in front of Rajai Davis) to end the frame.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- Doubront surrenders a walk in an otherwise clean second inning. Still, the walk may be more costly than it first appears. Doubront has always had trouble with keeping his pitch count down, and of late when that count has risen, the young lefty has been hammered.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- A bad throw from Yunel Escobar allows Pedroia to reach base with one down in the first, but as on the road, the Sox proved helpless with a man on base, as both Jacoby Ellsbury and Cody Ross quickly recorded outs behind him to end the inning.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- Felix Doubront rewards those fans who stuck around with some classic Red Sox baseball. Yes, that means an early run allowed. The third pitch of the game is chopped past the first base bag and into right field for a double, allowing the Blue Jays to manufacture the run from there with a ground ball back to Felix Doubront and a fly ball to deep left off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion.
The Red Sox will take on the Toronto Blue Jays in the first game of a three-game batlle for the bottom of the A.L. East. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
There's no such thing as an impressive Red Sox lineup these days. There are only better Red Sox lineups and worse Red Sox lineups. Today's falls somewhere in the middle. On the one hand, it's got the full complement of Pedroia - Ellsbury - Ross in the middle. On the other hand, Ryan Kalish is the DH for the day, which is...not very good. He's had some decent numbers when he's played of late, however, so who knows?
Boston Red Sox (63-75)
Toronto Blue Jays (61-75)
The Red Sox will welcome the Toronto Blue Jays into Boston for a three-game set in the battle of the bottom of the A.L. East
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