On Friday night the Red Sox will be north of the border to start a three-game series with the Blue Jays. Boston will begin the series by sending Joe Kelly to the mound, while Toronto will be depending on the right arm of Aaron Sanchez.

Kelly (2-0) will be making his second start for the Sox after a stint on the DL with a right shoulder impingement. Kelly had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning in his first start back from the DL last Saturday against the Indians. In that start it didn’t appear Kelly needed much time to get used to facing big league hitters again, as he began the contest by retiring 13 straight. Kelly ended up throwing 6 2/3 innings and giving up just one hit, no runs and three walks while striking out seven. Kelly’s stellar comeback outing lowered his ERA from 9.35 to 5.28 to go along with a 1.82 WHIP.

“Overall command of the fastball was very big today,” Kelly said after the start. “I was throwing it to both sides of the plate. I just felt super strong out there. All the work we’ve been putting in since I went on the DL of getting the shoulder stronger in the training room, it’s just good to go out there and not even think about it and get a little more extension on the fastball and all the other pitches with that strong shoulder.”

Kelly currently is enjoying a 10-game winning streak, dating back to last season. It is the 16th time in Red Sox history that a pitcher has a 10-game winning streak, and Kelly’s streak is the longest since 2013 when Clay Buchholz won 11 straight. Over his last eight starts at Fenway, Kelly is 7-0 with a 2.41 ERA. Toronto’s Rogers Centre has been far less accommodating for Kelly, however. Kelly has started three games at Rogers Centre in his career and in those starts he is 0-1 with a whopping 9.20 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP. Kelly has faced the Blue Jays six times in his career, going 1-1 with 6.96 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. The 27-year-old right-hander faced Toronto in his first start of the 2016 season. Kelly didn’t begin the year the way he wanted, as he gave up seven runs, one home run and three walks with four strikeouts in just three innings.

Something to keep an eye on is who will be catching for Kelly. Ryan Hanigan is supposed to get the start, but it is unclear if he is fully healthy after leaving Wednesday’s game with an illness. If Hanigan is unable able to go, Blake Swihart could get the start behind the plate. Swihart came up through the Red Sox system as a catcher, but has been playing left field for the Sox since his call-up from Pawtucket last week.

Sanchez will make Friday’s start with some extra rest. The Blue Jays starter was pushed back a day in order to try to preserve him over the course of the season. The 23-year-old has never thrown over 130 innings, and if he is kept on his current pace he would hit 130 innings by July.

Sanchez began 2015 in the starting rotation before he missed seven weeks with a lat strain. After the injury Sanchez, who was the 34th pick in the 2010 draft, finished the year as a full-time reliever. Sanchez was returned to the starting rotation at the beginning of this season. So far in 2016 Sanchez is 4-1 with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. His last start was a 9-3 victory over the Twins in which he pitched seven innings and gave up eight hits but just two runs and no walks while striking out seven.

Sanchez has appeared in 11 games (three starts) against the Red Sox in his three years in the majors. In those outings he is 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. His last outing against the Sox came in April when he went seven innings and allowed no runs on six hits and two walks while recording six strikeouts in Toronto’s 5-3 win.

Red Sox vs. Sanchez (RHP)

Xander Bogaerts (13 plate appearances): .077 AVG./.077 OBP/.077 SLG, 2 strikeouts

David Ortiz (11): .500/.636/.625, 1 double, 1 RBI, 3 walks

Dustin Pedroia (11): .250/.455/.250, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Mookie Betts (10): .333/.400/.444, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Travis Shaw is 0-for-7 with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks.

Hanley Ramirez is 0-for-6 with 3 strikeouts.

Chris Young is 2-for-5 with 1 double and 2 strikeouts.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is 3-for-3.

Marco Hernandez is 1-for-2 with 1 walk.

Blake Swihart is 0-for-3 with 2 strikeouts.

Christian Vazquez is 0-for-1.

Blue Jays vs. Kelly (RHP)

Russell Martin (21 plate appearances): .294 AVG./.381 OBP/.529 SLG, 1 double, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

Josh Donaldson (19): .529/.579/.706, 1 hHR, 6 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jose Bautista (17): .154/.353/.385, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts

Edwin Encarnacion (17): .364/.529/.727, 1 double, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 5 walks, 2 strikeouts

Kevin Pillar (14): .273/.429/.455, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Darwin Barney (9): .500/.556/.500, 2 RBIs, 1 walk

Ryan Goins (9): .222/.222/.333, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Michael Saunders (8): .143/.250/.143, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Troy Tulowitzki is 0-for-6 with 2 walks.

Devon Travis is 2-for-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout and 1 walk.

Justin Smoak is 2-for-3 with 1 triple and 1 RBI.

Jimmy Paredes is 0-for-2 with 1 strikeout.

Blog Author: 
John Hand
Mut recaps the Sox 8-2 loss to the Rockies.
Mut recaps the Sox 8-2 loss to the Rockies.

Clay Buchholz can't even look as Dustin Garneau rounds the bases after homering Thursday.</p>
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Joe and Tim are joined by the man of the hour, Wade Boggs, on the night where the Red Sox retired his number 26. Wade talks about his career in baseball and how it feels to have his number retired.
Joe and Tim are joined by Red Sox legend and baseball Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski about his time with the Red Sox and his thoughts on the 2016 team.

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Clay Buchholz doesn't know what hit him as Dustin Garneau circles the bases after hitting a homer on Thursday. (David Butler II-USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz doesn’t know what hit him as Dustin Garneau circles the bases after hitting a homer on Thursday. (David Butler II-USA Today Sports)

It became apparent this wouldn’t be the Red Sox’ night on the first Red Sox at-bat of the evening.

Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., looking to extend the longest hitting streak in the majors to 30 games, launched a Jon Gray offering deep to right field. What looked like a surefire homer off the bat instead nestled into the glove of Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Bradley would hit another ball to the base of the center field wall later in the game with the same result, bringing to an end one of the most uplifting stretches of baseball in recent Red Sox history and halting his hitting streak at 29 games.

On the flip side, right-hander Clay Buchholz saw a streak of his own continue, and it might cost him his spot in the rotation. Buchholz allowed a trio of two-run homers and got booed off the field, taking the loss in an 8-2 defeat.

The Red Sox didn’t have a chance in this one because Buchholz didn’t give it to them. After David Ortiz gave the Sox a 2-0 lead with his 12th homer of the season in the first, the Rockies tied it on a Carlos Gonzalez homer in the fourth, and then took control with consecutive two-run homers leading off the fifth as Buchholz saw his ERA climb to 6.35.

The only drama thereafter was whether Bradley could extend his streak. He got his last chance leading off the eighth, but grounded out routinely to second on the first pitch. The game ended with Bradley on deck.

Closing Time note

Buchholz has now allowed 28 runs on the 12 home runs he has surrendered. Only two of the 12 have been solo shots.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— David Ortiz stayed smoldering with a two-run homer in the first, his 12th of the year, and he later added his league-leading 22nd double. He also leads the league with 45 RBIs.

— Bradley’s hitting streak may have ended, but shortstop Xander Bogaerts extended a streak of his own with a single in the first. He has now hit in 19 straight.

— Right-hander Heath Hembree gave the Red Sox three innings of one-run (unearned) ball, leaving the bullpen intact for a series that opens in Toronto on Friday.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Ugh. Buchholz. He went five innings, allowing seven hits and six runs. The home run once again proved his undoing, as he allowed three of them, all two-run shots.

— Bradley’s hitting streak ended, even though he crushed the ball twice.

— Third baseman Travis Shaw made his sixth error of the season, leading to an unearned run.

— The rampaging offense was surprisingly silenced by right-hander Jon Gray, who started the night with a 6.75 ERA, but limited the Sox to five hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three.

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Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Say goodbye to Clay Buchholz?

Taking the mound with his spot in the starting rotation on the line, the Red Sox right-hander instead imploded against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, done in by his nemesis — the long ball.

Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

Say goodbye to Clay Buchholz?

Taking the mound with his spot in the starting rotation on the line, the Red Sox right-hander instead imploded against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, done in by his nemesis — the long ball.

Buchholz allowed three two-run homers in five-plus innings. His final line, not surprisingly, was ugly: 5 IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, all earned. He walked none, struck out two, and saw his ERA climb to 6.35.

With Eduardo Rodriguez nearing a return, Buchholz is easily the odd man out of the rotation based on performance. His only hope was to pitch well and delay E-Rod’s return. Now, barring any physical setbacks for the young left-hander, there’s no point in saving the veteran’s spot.

Buchholz’s night actually started in encouraging fashion. He retired the first nine batters he faced before Charlie Blackmon led off the fourth with a single. And then things got hairy. With two outs, Carlos Gonzalez blasted a game-tying two-run homer to right.

The fifth brought more of the same. Gerardo Parra led off with a single and Trevor Story launched his 13th homer to center to make it 4-2.

Daniel Descalso followed with a single before scoring on the first homer of Dustin Garneau’s career. In the span of four batters, Buchholz allowed two singles and two homers while boos rained down from the very restless fans in attendance.

Manager John Farrell visited the mound with Heath Hembree warming, but not only let Buchholz finish the inning, he sent him back out for the sixth. When Gonzalez led off with an infield single, that was it for Buchholz, who left to a cascade of boos.

Was it his final start for the Red Sox for a while? We’ll find out soon enough, but at this point, there’s no point in arguing he deserves a spot in the rotation.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Jackie Bradley just missed a home run that would’ve extended his hitting streak to 30 games leading off the game and then did so again two at-bats later, halting his hitting streak at 29 games.