Beckett looks to move into sole possession of the major league lead in wins as he gets the start for the Red Sox against Halladay and the Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
Boston’s highly touted rookie Daisuke Matsuzaka and Toronto’s Jesse Litsch each surrendered seven runs as the Red Sox won 13-10 on Monday. The middle contest of this three-game set is likely to be considerably different.
A win could move Beckett (16-6, 3.29 ERA) out of a six-way tie for the major league lead in that category, and give the Red Sox (83-55) their fourth straight win. Chien-Ming Wang of the New York Yankees is the only other pitcher with 16 wins who will start Tuesday when he faces Seattle.
Beckett, however, is coming off a subpar outing, allowing four runs and a career-worst 13 hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday.
“A guy who left every ounce of what he had out there,” Boston manager Terry Francona said of Beckett. “A lot of hits and a refusal to give in.”
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays this season, but 2-3 with a 4.70 ERA in seven career starts against them.
Halladay (14-6, 3.87), meanwhile, is tied for eighth in the American League in wins and Toronto (70-67) has won 17 of his 26 starts. He has either pitched nine innings or a complete game in each of his last four starts, but is winless in his last three outings—his longest stretch without a victory this season.
The right-hander gave up four runs and seven hits in nine innings against Oakland on Wednesday, but did not receive a decision as Toronto lost 5-4 in 11.
Halladay is 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox this season, and 9-9 with a 4.79 ERA in 28 starts and three relief appearances in his career against them.
Halladay may not have to face Manny Ramirez on Tuesday as the Red Sox slugger is nursing a strained muscle in his left side. Ramirez has missed six straight games, and manager Terry Francona has not given a timetable for his return.
Boston, however, has scored eight runs or more in three of its last four games to open a seven-game lead over New York in the AL East.
Mike Lowell went 3-for-4 on Monday to extend his hitting streak to 16 games in which he’s batting .500 (30-for-60) with 20 RBIs. He’s 10-for-16 with eight RBIs in his last four games while replacing Ramirez in the cleanup spot.
“I think I’m more satisfied with the fact that Manny’s out of the lineup and they’re putting me kind of in his spot and I’m producing,” Lowell said. “That’s a satisfying feeling.”
Lowell is four RBIs shy of matching his career high of 105, set with Florida in 2003 when they went on to win the World Series.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, have been hitting well after a rough stretch, scoring 25 runs in their last four games.
“This is more like us,” Toronto manager John Gibbons told the team’s official Web site. “We just went through a big drought - an extreme drought, which is unusual.”
The Blue Jays—28-40 on the road—trail the Red Sox by 12 1/2 games, but are 5 1/2 behind the Yankees for the wild card.