Red Sox-Blue Jays Preview


Even with another one of their top players out of the lineup, the Boston Red Sox continue to find success.

With Dustin Pedroia still nursing a jammed thumb, the Red Sox look for a second straight victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday at Rogers Centre.

Pedroia took ground balls prior to Friday's series opener, but still missed his fourth consecutive game. That did not keep Boston (27-25) from winning 7-2 to improve to 3-1 without the 2008 AL MVP, who remains day to day.

Even with outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Cody Ross part of a lengthy disabled list, Boston has won 15 of 21, including six of nine on the road. Outfielder Daniel Nava had four hits - including three doubles - while Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz each drove in two runs Friday as the Red Sox pounded out 15 hits.

Ortiz, who homered for the third time in four games, is 9 for 18 with seven RBIs in his last five contests.

"The last few weeks we've really been picking it up and kind of grinding, playing the way we should be playing," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said.

After Clay Buchholz threw eight solid innings for his sixth straight winning start at Toronto, the Red Sox hand the ball to Felix Doubront (5-2, 3.86 ERA), who has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his past four outings. The left-hander gave up a pair of solo homers and two other hits in six innings of a 7-4 win over Detroit on Monday.

"Felix has been a pretty consistent pitcher for us," manager Bobby Valentine told the Red Sox's official website. "When he has his fastball command, that two-seamer on the outside to right-handers and the inside to left-handers, he gets ahead of a lot of counts and seems like he does a pretty good job."

After five career relief appearances against the Blue Jays, Doubront made his 2012 debut in a start at Toronto. He allowed two runs and struck out six in five innings before the Red Sox rallied late for a 4-2 win April 9.

Yunel Escobar and David Cooper each homered Friday for the Blue Jays (27-25), who were coming off a three-game home sweep of Baltimore. Cooper is batting .360 (9 for 25) in seven games since he was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas on May 25.

Toronto's Kyle Drabek (4-5, 4.55) hopes to bounce back from perhaps the worst outing of his career when he takes the mound Saturday. The right-hander had allowed three runs and six hits over 13 innings while winning his previous two starts but was roughed up for nine runs and eight hits in three innings of a 12-6 loss at Texas on Sunday.

"I'll forget about it, but I need to learn from it," Drabek told the Blue Jays' official website. "I need to go back to square one, figure something out because doing that is not going to help the team any."

Drabek was hit hard in his first two starts against the Red Sox last year, yielding five homers and 12 runs over nine innings, but he beat them April 10 by allowing a run and three hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-3 victory.