Henderson Alvarez and Felix Doubront enter the weekend series with mirroring struggles.
Since the All-Star break, Alvarez has a 6.56 ERA and Doubront a 6.75 mark. Alvarez last pitched past the fifth inning on Aug. 14; Doubront on July 29. Each has made seven starts since the All-Star break, and each threw six or more innings only twice.
"It's getting old, real old," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of more big-picture pitching struggles after Doubront allowed five runs in five innings his last time out, a day after Boston surrendered 20 runs in Oakland. "The offense is stressed and it's a tough way to play the game."
There is little pressure in this matchup in Boston, as the Blue Jays and Red Sox meet with the rest of the American League East locked in a race for the division title and two Wild Card spots.
Toronto fell victim to the streaking Orioles at home, losing two of three at Rogers Centre with a depleted lineup and rotation before traveling to Boston. The Red Sox likewise lost two of three in Seattle, but won the middle game on Tuesday to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Blue Jays: Romero to have start skipped
Ricky Romero will not make his scheduled start in Sunday's series finale at Fenway Park, instead pitching next Wednesday on nine days' rest. The left-hander does not have any injury, but manager John Farrell believes Romero pitched better this season with more rest, and he wants Romero to end the season on a positive note.
Romero has a 6.56 ERA in 15 starts pitching on regular rest. He made four starts with six or more days, allowing 17 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings.
Romero accepted the club's decision, but did not necessarily agree with it.
"I get ready for every fifth day and I'm sure if the circumstances were a little different, I wouldn't be missing a start," said Romero, who is 8-13 with a 5.85 ERA in 28 starts overall. "It's a little disappointing. The last thing I want to do is sit here in the dugout and just think about stuff. I want to go out there and I want to compete. But it is what it is. You've got to take it for what it's worth and move forward."
Red Sox: Valentine defends work ethic, radio interview
Valentine defended his work ethic, questioned during an interview with Glenn Ordway on WEEI prior to Wednesday's series finale at Safeco Field.
Ordway asked the first-year Boston manager whether or not he had "checked out" this season, prompting Valentine to laugh and say he would punch the radio host if he were there. Valentine insisted it was a joke, meant to show the lines of what is professional and unprofessional. Ordway and media members who reported Valentine arrived late to a game in Oakland last week when he was visiting his son were the ones who acted unprofessional, according to Valentine.
"When you talk about someone's family and you talk about someone's integrity, you draw the line of what should be done in the workplace," Valentine said.
J.P. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie each made rehab appearances on Wednesday with Class A Dunedin. Arencibia went 1-for-4 with a strikeout from the three-spot, and Lawrie went 0-for-3 with a walk leading off.
Dustin Pedroia's 15-game hitting streak was snapped in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Seattle. He went 0-for-3 with a walk after hitting .393 (24-for-61) in the previous 15 games with two home runs, seven doubles, eight RBIs, 11 runs scored and six stolen bases.