Red Sox-Blue Jays Preview

The Associated Press

Daisuke Matsuzaka is well aware that he could be in the final days of his tenure with the Boston Red Sox.

The right-hander looks to avoid a third straight loss Friday night when the visiting Red Sox try to keep from falling to the Toronto Blue Jays for a seventh consecutive time.

After going 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA in 61 starts during his first two seasons with Boston in 2007-2008, Matsuzaka (1-5, 7.20 ERA) has gone 17-20 with a 5.30 ERA in 53 games - 52 starts - since then. Elbow problems have limited him to 16 appearances since the start of 2011.

A free agent at the end of the season, Matsuzaka understands he might not be part of the new direction the organization is taking.

"Honestly I don't know if I'll wear this Red Sox uniform next year,'' said Matsuzaka, who is in the final season of a six-year, $52 million contract. "It's been an honor to wear this Red Sox uniform. I don't know what next year will bring."

He's allowed 11 runs, three homers and walked five in five innings of his last two starts. He lasted just 1 1-3 innings in a 9-2 loss to the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Saturday.

"I'm real disappointed that I haven't been able to be there for the team the past two games,'' Matsuzaka said. "I'm real frustrated that I haven't been consistent.''

Matsuzaka is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in two home starts against the Blue Jays this season, but 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in six starts at Rogers Centre - none of which have come in the past two years.

Boston (64-80) has dropped six in a row against the Blue Jays - all at Fenway. The teams split the first six this season in Toronto, with Boston winning two of three June 1-3. The last-place Red Sox are two games behind the Blue Jays (65-77) in the East.

The Red Sox look to avoid a third straight defeat overall after they were held to six hits while falling for the 13th time in 15 games, 2-0 to the rival New York Yankees on Thursday.

It's uncertain if second baseman Dustin Pedroia will be in the lineup after he missed that contest to be with his wife and newborn son. Pedroia has batted .385 with six homers in his last 34 games. He's 5 for 12 with two doubles and a homer at Toronto this year.

Edwin Encarnacion hit his 40th homer and increased his team-leading total to 102 RBIs with a three-run shot in Toronto's 8-3 win over Seattle on Thursday.

"I have eight years playing in the big leagues, I never got to 80 (RBIs),'' Encarnacion said.

Three of Encarnacion's four hits in his last 29 at-bats have left the park. He's batted .326 with four home runs, 15 RBIs and 13 walks in 15 games against the Red Sox in 2012.

Back in the Toronto rotation replacing the injured J.A. Happ, Aaron Laffey (3-5, 4.43) has yielded two runs in 17 2-3 innings while going 1-0 in three road starts against the Red Sox in 2012. He gave up two runs in 4 2-3 innings of Saturday's victory.

The left-hander is 0-3 with a 4.84 ERA in four starts since winning at Oakland on Aug. 5.

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