Game 121: Red Sox at Blue Jays - Time to feast on the East bottom dwellers

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The Boston Red Sox continue their road trip after having their first day off in 18 days with a three-game series north of the border against the Toronto Blue Jays. This will be the Sox final trip to the Rogers Centre this season, where they are 4-2 against the Jays and have outscored them 39-20. Overall, Boston is 8-5 versus Toronto and most recently took 3-of-4 at the end of June at Fenway Park.

This is the first of six straight games against AL East opponents. The Red Sox (71-49) face the Jays (54-64), the last place team in the division, before heading home for a three-game set against the fourth-place Yankees. Boston, despite losing four of their last seven games, actually gained a game on Tampa Bay, who currently sits three games back in second. Baltimore is five back in third. Feasting on the bottom of the East is what the Red Sox need to do with only 42 games remaining on the schedule.

Ryan Dempster gets the ball to start tonight. He is 6-8 with a 4.67 ERA, but only has one decision in his last seven starts (the decision was a win) dating back to a June 30 outing against these Blue Jays. In that game, Dempster gave up two earned runs in 5.1 innings in what turned out to be a 5-4 Red Sox walk-off win. It was also the last time closer Koji Uehara allowed an earned run.

Dempster yielded 12 earned runs on 16 hits in 12 innings his last two starts against Seattle and Houston. Against Toronto this year, he is 1-1 in three starts. Dempster allowed nine earned runs in 16.1 innings.

Here is the Red Sox lineup tonight (first pitch – 7:07 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Nava, LF
6. Napoli, 1B
7. Drew, SS
8. Saltalamacchia, C
9. Middlebrooks, 3B

Dempster, P

The Jays will send Todd Redmond to the mound. Redmond is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA in eight appearances (five starts) this season for Toronto and was just recalled to make a spot start for Josh Johnson, who is experiencing soreness in his right forearm.

Obligatory Red Sox sighting news
Yes, it’s been hashed out over and over again on the airwaves, but it must be repeated once more. Dustin Pedroia, Johnny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were spotted sitting behind home plate at Monday’s Blue Jays game against the Oakland A’s. One would think MLB players attend games unnoticed all the time, and that’s probably true. But this trio of Red Sox sat two rows back just to the first base side of home plate and were seen via TV camera angles from center field nearly every pitch. Maybe a little scouting? Maybe just enjoying a ball game like the rest of us normally do? Maybe both? Who knows, but it was interesting and only in Boston would that blow up to be a mega newsworthy item.

This and that
Stephen Drew went 2-for-4 Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, a season best … The Blue Jays are 29-31 at home this season, the only team in the AL East and one of only five American League teams with a losing home record … Catcher David Ross is in Triple-A Pawtucket continuing his rehab assignment and is expected to rejoin the Red Sox as early as Aug. 19 … Speaking of the Minor League affiliates, shortstop Deven Marrero was promoted to Double-A Portland and Heiker Meneses was promoted to Pawtucket. These moves are likely in advance of phenom Xander Bogaerts getting his promotion to the big club, sometime in the near future. It is likely he won’t come to Boston until September when the roster for MLB teams expands. However, there is a chance Bogaerts will be called up before then in order to be eligible for the Red Sox postseason roster (player must be on roster by Aug. 31). Bogaerts is playing third base for Pawtucket tonight.

A dozen mini-seasons
For just the third time all season, the Red Sox finished a 10-game stretch without a winning record. Again, the irony here is that Boston is now three games up on the second-place Rays – 10 games ago, the Sox were up by just one game). The Red Sox finished 5-5 over the past 10 games, the second even .500 record they’ve had through a 10-game mini-season. Here is a breakdown of how they’ve done:

1) 6-4
2) 7-3
3) 7-3
4) 3-7
5) 7-3
6) 6-4
7) 6-4
8) 5-5
9) 7-3
10) 6-4
11) 6-4
12) 5-5

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

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