Blue Jays-Red Sox Preview

The Associated Press

Even before a lengthy team-mandated break, Felix Doubront was likely on the bubble to make the Boston Red Sox's playoff roster.

The left-hander will try to make his case for a spot and help the Red Sox move a step closer to clinching the AL's best record in Sunday's series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Red Sox sat Doubront (10-6, 4.15 ERA) after he put up a 12.27 ERA and failed to make it past the fourth inning in two starts earlier this month. He was charged with six runs over 3 2-3 innings in the final of those outings Sept. 6 but avoided a loss when the Red Sox rallied for a 12-8 win against the New York Yankees.

Boston (94-62) made the decision to have Doubront rest two days later with Clay Buchholz returning to the rotation.

"It's going to help," Doubront told the team's website. "(The rest is) good. I feel like I need it. The last start wasn't the same delivery. Just rest a little bit and work in the bullpen."

Judging by his 0-2 record and a 6.33 ERA in his last four starts against Toronto, this might not be an ideal spot for Doubront's potentially brief return to the rotation. The left-hander, though, has put up a respectable 3.97 ERA in two matchups this season.

Doubront allowed two runs over 6 1-3 innings to the Blue Jays (71-83) at Fenway Park on June 29 but didn't get enough support in a 6-2 loss.

The Red Sox could use another solid outing to pad a 1 1/2-game lead over Oakland for the AL's best record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. With Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli out of the lineup, Boston fell 4-2 to Toronto on Saturday, a day after clinching the AL East title.

Doubront might have trouble getting runs to work with in this game with R.A. Dickey (13-12, 4.21) riding a season-high win streak. The knuckleballer is 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his last five starts and struck out eight over seven innings in a 2-0 win over the Yankees on Tuesday.

"It's nice to continue to grow," Dickey told the team's website. "These are important games for me in particular, at least I see them as that, because we're going to be competing next year and it's important to try and get it right, now. So, every time I come to the field, I'm still trying to work on it."

Dickey will try to work on having a better performance against the Red Sox after enduring a 13-0 loss in his only matchup this season April 7. The right-hander gave up a season-high eight runs and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings in that game.

Will Middlebrooks hit two of his three home runs and a double off Dickey in that victory, but he's 4 for 32 (.125) in his last nine games.

Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes is 3 for 6 with two doubles against Doubront this season.

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