Roy Halladay could pitch the entire game Thursday and still not go as many innings as his last start.
All three of Halladay’s (2-0, 2.35 ERA) outings this season have been quality starts, and they have also all been Toronto (8-6) victories. His most impressive effort came last Friday, when he pitched all 10 innings of the Blue Jays 2-1 win over Detroit, giving up six hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
The right-hander threw 70 of his 107 pitches for strikes, and became the first major leaguer to throw a 10-inning complete game since Mark Mulder did it for St. Louis on April 23, 2005.
“Halladay just had a bowling ball working out there today,” Tigers first baseman Sean Casey said. “There was late movement on everything. His sinker was late in the zone, his cutter was late in the zone. The curveball was heavy. Everything was so late. You’d go to swing and boom, that’s when it would start moving. You’d go to center it and it was a ground ball. You’d roll over it or blow your bat up.”
Halladay is 8-7 with a 4.60 ERA in 27 career appearances, including 24 starts, against the Red Sox.
He will need to be at the top of his game if Toronto’s bats continue to slump. After winning Tuesday’s series opener 2-1 despite managing only three hits—all singles—the Blue Jays compiled only five hits against Boston starter Tim Wakefield and two relievers in Wednesday night’s 4-1 loss.
The Jays have scored two runs or fewer in four of their last five games, but they are 3-2 in that span.
David Ortiz, Mike Lowell and Doug Mirabelli all hit solo home runs to provide three of Boston’s four runs on Wednesday. The Red Sox (8-5) have homered seven times while winning four of their last five games, after totaling only four home runs through their first eight contests.
Ortiz added a single, and that hit and his homer both went to the opposite field, something the left-handed hitter has rarely done in the past.
“I’m not going to lie to you,” Ortiz said. “I tried to hit that way before and it never worked.”
Boston sends Julian Tavarez (0-1, 9.00) to the hill for just the second time this season, and the first time since April 7. The right-hander, who became the team’s fifth starter after Jonathan Papelbon moved from the rotation back into the closer role spring training, gave up four runs over four innings in his first outing, allowing six hits and walking five in an 8-4 loss at Texas.
Last time he faced the Blue Jays, though, Tavarez pitched one of the best games of his 15-year major league career. On Sept. 22, he scattered seven hits and one walk while throwing a complete game as the Red Sox won 7-1 at Toronto.
The Red Sox return home following this contest for their first series of the season with the arch-rival New York Yankees.