If given the chance, closer and AL rookie of the month Jonathan Papelbon will try to keep his promise Thursday when his Boston Red Sox close a two-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.
After recording 10 saves in 10 tries, Papelbon gave up his first run of the season and blew his first save opportunity in a 7-6 loss Wednesday.
Papelbon yielded a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning to Russ Adams as Boston (15-12) fell to 2-5 against Toronto (14-12).
“I’ll be ready to go,” said Papelbon, who gave up his first run after 21 1-3 innings dating back to Sept. 19. “There’s along way to go and I have a lot of innings to pitch. I didn’t feel great (Wednesday), but that’s not an excuse. I’ve felt bad other days and was still able to get the job done.”
Boston is tied with the New York Yankees atop the AL East with Toronto one-half game behind.
Matt Clement (2-2, 6.14 ERA) will get the start in Thursday’s finale. He is coming off a poor outing Friday against Tampa Bay when he gave up four runs and five hits with a season-high six walks over six innings in a 5-2 loss. The right-hander is 1-3 with an 8.44 ERA in 32 innings pitched versus the Blue Jays.
Josh Towers (0-5, 10.45) will try to put another forgettable outing behind him when he takes the mound for the Jays. He was tagged for seven runs and six hits—including two homers—in just 2 1-3 innings of a 17-6 loss to the Yankees on Saturday.
Towers is 3-5 with a 6.62 career ERA against the Red Sox. He’s also given up 14 homers to Boston in 53 innings pitched.
Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells has hit in 24 of 26 games this season after recording two hits in the series opener. He’s hitting .383 with nine homers and 25 RBIs this season.
Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay was 4-for-4 Wednesday, raising his average to .304 with three homers and 14 RBIs. Toronto has eight players batting better than .300.
Boston’s David Ortiz had homered in five of his last six games against the Jays before going 0-for-5 on Wednesday.