The Red Sox begin a seven game road trip on Friday night in Toronto and it will again be a battle to see who stays out of the AL East basement. If past performances are any indication, the Sox could be basement dwellers for the remainder of the season. With 18 games remaining, the Red Sox are only 2 losses away from being mathematically eliminated from the postseason, although everyone knows that ship has sailed well before summer ever really got going.
It’s hard to believe, but Dice-K continues to take the mound and start for the Red Sox. Manager Bobby Valentine informed the media this past week that Matsuzaka’s bullpen session was positive and that a mechanical flaw was identified. His last start against the A’s was awful, going 3.2 innings and giving up 6 runs on 7 hits. He last started against the Jays way back on June 26 and was actually pretty good going 5.2 IP, giving up only 1 run on 6 hits with only 1 walk and 5 strikeouts.
Laffey could be called the Red Sox slayer this season. Over three starts this year Laffey is 1-0 with a sparkling 1.04 ERA. If the last start is any indication then maybe the Sox have studied the game film and figured Laffey out as they were able to sneak out 2 earned runs, the only two runs they’ve pegged on him all season.
Buchholz is pitching like the guy we were all waiting for over the first couple months of the season. Over his last 10 starts he’s 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA. Aside from the one ugly outing against the Angels, Buchholz has surrendered 4 runs only twice, with everything else being 3 runs or less. He’s been the victim of a stale Sox offense at times but it’s nice to see him throwing so well, one of the few positives as this year comes to a close.
Villanueva recently drew some skepticism from Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos when he questioned if the pitcher was able to endure a full season as a starter. Villanueva is set to become a free agent this year and was thought to be a potential young arm that the Jays could develop for the future. His last two starts against Boston he’s given up 3 earned runs in both games lasting at least six innings.
Like Buchholz, Jon Lester is pitching much better as of late and you could go back to the thumping he took at the hands of the Blue Jays on July 22 as the starting point. Since that game when he gave up 11 runs over 4.0 innings, Lester is 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA ver 54.2 innings.
Morrow has made a nice impact on the Jays club since recovering from injury. Over his last four starts he is 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA. He has yet to start against Boston this year.