Red Sox-Blue Jays Preview

Even with another one of their top players out of the lineup,

the Boston Red Sox continue to find success.

With Dustin Pedroia still nursing a jammed thumb, the Red Sox

look for a second straight victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on

Saturday at Rogers Centre.

Pedroia took ground balls prior to Friday’s series opener, but

still missed his fourth consecutive game. That did not keep Boston

(27-25) from winning 7-2 to improve to 3-1 without the 2008 AL MVP,

who remains day to day.

Even with outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Cody

Ross part of a lengthy disabled list, Boston has won 15 of 21,

including six of nine on the road. Outfielder Daniel Nava had four

hits – including three doubles – while Adrian Gonzalez and David

Ortiz each drove in two runs Friday as the Red Sox pounded out 15


Ortiz, who homered for the third time in four games, is 9 for 18

with seven RBIs in his last five contests.

“The last few weeks we’ve really been picking it up and kind of

grinding, playing the way we should be playing,” catcher Jarrod

Saltalamacchia said.

After Clay Buchholz threw eight solid innings for his sixth

straight winning start at Toronto, the Red Sox hand the ball to

Felix Doubront (5-2, 3.86 ERA), who has allowed two runs or fewer

in each of his past four outings. The left-hander gave up a pair of

solo homers and two other hits in six innings of a 7-4 win over

Detroit on Monday.

“Felix has been a pretty consistent pitcher for us,” manager

Bobby Valentine told the Red Sox’s official website. “When he has

his fastball command, that two-seamer on the outside to

right-handers and the inside to left-handers, he gets ahead of a

lot of counts and seems like he does a pretty good job.”

After five career relief appearances against the Blue Jays,

Doubront made his 2012 debut in a start at Toronto. He allowed two

runs and struck out six in five innings before the Red Sox rallied

late for a 4-2 win April 9.

Yunel Escobar and David Cooper each homered Friday for the Blue

Jays (27-25), who were coming off a three-game home sweep of

Baltimore. Cooper is batting .360 (9 for 25) in seven games since

he was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas on May 25.

Toronto’s Kyle Drabek (4-5, 4.55) hopes to bounce back from

perhaps the worst outing of his career when he takes the mound

Saturday. The right-hander had allowed three runs and six hits over

13 innings while winning his previous two starts but was roughed up

for nine runs and eight hits in three innings of a 12-6 loss at

Texas on Sunday.

“I’ll forget about it, but I need to learn from it,” Drabek told

the Blue Jays’ official website. “I need to go back to square one,

figure something out because doing that is not going to help the

team any.”

Drabek was hit hard in his first two starts against the Red Sox

last year, yielding five homers and 12 runs over nine innings, but

he beat them April 10 by allowing a run and three hits in 5 1-3

innings of a 7-3 victory.