Boston (11-7) at Toronto (9-7)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 1:07 pm EDT Sun Apr 23, 2006
  • TV: NESN, RSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Toronto Blue Jays seek their fifth straight win over the Boston Red Sox and a three-game series sweep when the teams meet Sunday at Rogers Centre.

Toronto is 15-8 in the series since the start of 2005, including an 8-3 mark at home where it has outscored Boston 76-43.

Right-hander Josh Towers (0-3, 9.24 ERA), who won five of his first six decisions in 2005 en route to a 13-12 record and 3.71 ERA, will make his fourth start of the year for Toronto.

Towers has allowed at least four runs in each of his outings this season, including four runs in six innings of a 5-3 defeat to the Red Sox on April 11 at Fenway Park. He yielded five runs and seven hits in just two innings in his last start, a loss to the Chicago White Sox last Sunday.

“I’m just trying to out think myself, I think,” Towers said. “Then, when you do fall behind and you’re not locating the ball well enough, it’s always good news for the hitters. I’m frustrated right now.”

Towers is 3-4 with a 6.65 ERA in nine games against Boston in his career.

Blue Jays (9-7) ace Roy Halladay had no problem with his control Saturday, allowing one run and six hits, walking one and striking out two in five innings of an 8-1 win.

The Blue Jays need Halladay to stay healthy, especially with A.J. Burnett on the disabled list. Burnett, signed in the offseason to a five-year, $55 million deal after spending parts of seven seasons with Florida, was placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday with a right elbow injury that he aggravated in a start against the Red Sox on Friday.

Burnett will visit Dr. James Andrews, the same doctor who performed Tommy John surgery on the pitcher in 2003, in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday.

“They don’t seem to think there’s anything structurally wrong,” manager John Gibbons said. “So whatever it is—maybe scar tissue—it may be something where it comes to the point where he’s just got to pitch with it. I don’t know.”

Vernon Wells went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs on Saturday for the Blue Jays, who had 13 hits to raise their team batting average to .314 this season.

The Red Sox (11-7) have lost three straight games for the first time since July 16-18, 2005.

Manny Ramirez went 1-for-3 and scored Boston’s only run the day after he hit his first two homers of the season in a 7-6 loss.

Ramirez has 49 homers in his career off Blue Jays pitching, his most against any opponent.

Trot Nixon, who had two of Boston’s six hits Saturday to raise his average to .385, is 9-for-19 (.474) with two homers in his career versus Towers.

Matt Clement (1-1, 7.00) will start for the Red Sox on Sunday and try to rediscover his early-season success of a year ago, when he won nine of his first 10 decisions and finished 13-6.

Clement has lasted at least seven innings in two of his three starts this season, but allowed seven runs and eight hits, walking four, in four innings of an 8-6 loss to the Blue Jays on April 13.

He has struggled against Toronto in his career, going 0-3 with a 9.45 ERA in five starts, allowing 28 runs, 36 hits and 17 walks in just 26 2-3 innings.

Starting Pitchers

M. Clement Tor vs. J. Towers LAD
5-5 Record 2-10
6.61 ERA 8.42
43 K 35
38 BB 17
1.76 WHIP 1.77