Blue Jays-Red Sox Preview

The Boston Red Sox’s Jon Lester has been one of the best

pitchers in the major leagues in recent years, and that’s generally

also been the case against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Lester looks to beat Toronto for the third time this season when

the AL East rivals continue their three-game set at Fenway Park on

Tuesday night.

Boston will send Lester (10-4, 3.43 ERA) to the mound after its

four-game winning streak ended with a 9-7 loss to Blue Jays on

Monday. The left-hander will be making his fourth start against

Toronto this season, going 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA in the first

three.

He is 6-1 with a 3.47 ERA in his last eight starts versus the

Blue Jays, allowing two or fewer runs in six of those outings.

Lester gave up one run – a fourth-inning homer by Jose Bautista

– in eight innings of two-hit ball to beat Toronto 14-1 on June 12

in the latest matchup.

He broke a two-start skid Wednesday, scattering two hits and two

walks over seven scoreless innings of a 5-2 win over

Philadelphia.

Lester is 3-3 with a 4.54 ERA in six starts at home. He lost his

last start at Fenway 4-2 on June 18, giving up three earned runs in

eight innings of a 4-2 defeat to Milwaukee – his second straight

home defeat.

He’ll try to slow down a Blue Jays lineup that has totaled 16

runs in back-to-back victories.

Travis Snider had three doubles and two RBIs on Monday in his

first game since April 28 after being sent to Triple-A. He batted

.184 in 25 games before his demotion.

”You could see the work and commitment he made when he went

down to Las Vegas,” manager John Farrell said. ”I think we’ve

seen him get in a much better place to get to balls down over the

plate.”

Aaron Hill went 3 for 5 with a homer and is hitting .333 over

his last five games. Hill, batting .246 this season, is 2 for 32

versus Lester.

Bautista, who has three career homers off Lester, has batted

.349 with six homers and 10 RBIs in his last 12 games.

Monday’s offensive output eclipsed the six total runs the Blue

Jays (42-44) scored in being swept at home by the Red Sox from June

10-12. Boston has outscored Toronto 78-41 in 10 games this

season.

The Red Sox (49-35) have scored 37 runs in their last three

versus the Blue Jays. Boston is 28-4 when scoring six or more runs

this year, but three of those losses have come to Toronto.

Toronto’s Brett Cecil (1-3, 7.24) will try to hold the Red Sox

down for a second time this season.

Cecil’s only victory came against Boston on April 15, when he

allowed three runs and two hits through six innings of a 7-6 win.

He’s won his last three starts versus Boston – all at Fenway –

despite a 4.82 ERA.

He made his first start in more than two months Thursday,

allowing six runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh. The

left-hander had been at Triple-A Las Vegas working on improving his

velocity.

He allowed homers to Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis in the

April victory. The two are a combined 7 for 20 (.350) lifetime off

Cecil.