Red Sox-Blue Jays Preview
After struggling in the most recent stop on their road trip, the Boston Red Sox will try to bounce back by continuing their recent success in Toronto.
The Red Sox, though, will likely need a better outing from Ryan Dempster in Tuesday night's series opener against the Blue Jays.
After taking two of three from Houston to start its 10-game trek, Boston dropped three of four to Kansas City after its rally attempt fell short in a 4-3 loss Sunday. The Red Sox (71-49), who trailed 4-1 after three innings, remained three games ahead of slumping Tampa Bay for the AL East lead.
Boston might have a better showing at Toronto, where it has won four consecutive series while going 8-4. The Red Sox have hit 16 homers in six games there this season. Plus, they took three of four from the Blue Jays in the teams' most recent matchup June 27-30 at Fenway Park.
Toronto (54-64) entered that series having won 12 of 14 and one game above .500 but hasn't climbed past the break-even mark since then, going 15-26.
The Red Sox are hoping Dempster (6-8, 4.67 ERA) can add to the struggles of the Blue Jays, who have lost four of five, while turning around his recent woes. The right-hander has a 7.27 ERA in his last five starts, though Boston won them all.
He's given up 12 runs and 16 hits through 12 innings this month, but the Red Sox rallied in the ninth inning to win both of those games.
"I want to try and leave the game leading and not losing, not relying on these comebacks," he told the team's website.
Dempster's only previous outing in Toronto came May 2 and marked his only win over the Blue Jays, giving up one run over six innings in a 3-1 victory. He's since faced them twice in Boston, going 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA.
He'll be opposed by Todd Redmond (1-1, 4.22), who is being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to rejoin the rotation because Josh Johnson is dealing with arm soreness.
Redmond was 1-0 with a 4.44 ERA in five starts after being called up for the second time this season July 3. The right-hander was sent down after needing 92 pitches to get through 3 2-3 innings in a 7-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 2.
While Redmond has never faced the Red Sox, Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista have done quite well against them this year. Reyes, riding a 10-game hitting streak, has hit .429 with two homers in seven games versus Boston while Bautista has batted .394 with five homers, his most versus any opponent.
Dustin Pedroia is hitting .481 in his last seven games against Toronto. Stephen Drew, batting .422 during a 12-game hit streak, is 4 for 9 (.444) with three extra-base hits in his last three games versus the Blue Jays.
Pedroia is 7 for 17 with four extra-base hits against Toronto closer Casey Janssen, who gave up a season-high four runs in the ninth inning of Monday's 5-1 loss to Oakland. Janssen also yielded a run in the ninth of Sunday's 5-4 win over the Athletics.
"They just hit him," manager John Gibbons told the team's website. "He's had a great year, himself. Some teams just give you trouble. ... They got to us the last two games late in the game."