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TB@BOS: Dice-K on his rough start against the Rays

As the saying goes, the Toronto Blue Jays have to get up mighty early in the morning to try to get the better of Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Consider it done. The Blue Jays and Red Sox renew one of Major League Baseball's most quaint traditions with Monday morning's game at Fenway Park.

With this annual attraction coinciding with the 115th running of the Boston Marathon, fans will also have to get an early start to maneuver around street closures to reach The Fens in time to see Dice-K's first pitch.

In fact, the club is encouraging fans to choose public transportation as the best way to deal with significant street closures in the Fenway Park neighborhood and surrounding areas from 9 a.m. ET through early evening.

While cynics might chime in that you have to get there early to see Matsuzaka -- chased after two-plus innings of his last start -- he sets up well against the Blue Jays as he seeks to snap out of a slump that reverts to last season.

Dice-K hasn't won since Sept. 2 in Baltimore, and his last win at home came on Aug. 5 against the Indians. But the right-hander's 6-1 career mark against the Blue Jays is his best against any opponent.

"I think he adapts very well to every situation he's been put in. We're looking forward to [Monday] morning," Boston pitching coach Curt Young said of the veteran righty, who has been trying to dial up his fastball to previous levels. "He's shown his velocity in the low 90s, which can be very effective if it's in good spots, and ... he's trying to get a point where he's changing speeds enough in the strike zone to get hitters off his fastball."

Left-hander Ricky Romero, who in three starts has allowed fewer earned runs (four) than Matsuzaka gave up (seven) in two innings against Tampa Bay last Monday, goes for the Blue Jays as they go for a split of the four-game series.

Boston, meanwhile, is looking for its third consecutive victory after waiting for the season's third week to finally put wins back-to-back. The Red Sox generated some overdue momentum on strong pitching performances by Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.

Despite those wins improving their record to 4-10, the Red Sox are still saddled with the Majors' poorest record. This is the first time since 1996 that Boston claims that dubious distinction at least 10 games into a season.

Blue Jays: An inside job for Jays
• Toronto has been kept in Fenway Park through the first three games of the series, dropping the Blue Jays' record to 1-6 in games they do not hit a home run. It's the first time they have gone three straight games without a homer since a five-game stretch June 28-July 2.

Red Sox: Lowrie continues hot streak
• Jed Lowrie went 1-for-4 and picked up an RBI on his 27th birthday Sunday. Boston's switch-hitting utility man is batting .462 this season.

• Since that last Fenway Park victory, Matsuzaka has an ERA of 9.36 in five home starts.

Worth noting
Some baseball laws apparently are made to be broken, too, such as the one that preaches plate discipline as a key to victory: With two walks Sunday, the Red Sox tied the Mariners at 61 free passes for the most in the American League. At 4-10 and 5-11, those two teams also have the poorest records in the league. Comments