The Red Sox will attempt to end their season-high five-game losing streak when right-hander Clay Buchholz takes the mound on Wednesday night vs. the Blue Jays.
Boston has been in a bit of a tailspin over the past week after dropping its final game to the Twins and then getting swept by Detroit. The fate didn't change much Tuesday night, as the club fell behind early and was unable to mount a comeback in the ninth inning.
The Red Sox find themselves 3 1/2 games back in the American League East, and with their next five games coming against division rivals Toronto and Tampa Bay, the timing of a quick turnaround is important.
"It's always been a great division, ever since I've played the game," Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino said. "The American League East is one of those divisions where teams battle each other out from start to finish. I think this year is a little more apparent than others.
"Everybody in the division got better. That's part of the game. To play as bad as we have, and to be as close as we are, I think that's a positive thing for us and hopefully we can get on a roll."
The five-game losing streak is Boston's longest since the club dropped its final eight games of the 2012 season. The main reason why the streak was extended on Tuesday night was because a disappointing start by left-hander Felix Doubront and an exceptional performance at the plate by the Blue Jays.
Buchholz will be attempting to reverse course, as he has struggled to the tune of a 6.17 ERA and 1.80 WHIP this season, but Wednesday might be a chance to get back on track. He owns a lifetime 2.52 ERA against Toronto and has more wins against the Blue Jays (10) than he has vs. any other team.
The Blue Jays will counter with right-hander Drew Hutchison, who is coming off the first shutout of his career. Hutchison allowed three hits and one walk while striking out six during an impressive outing against the Rangers.
As Boston tries to reverse its recent record, the Blue Jays are looking for more of the same. Toronto has won four of its past five games and 11 of its past 16 dating back a series finale in Pittsburgh on May 4. This three-game series in Boston is one of the biggest tests the club has faced all year.
"They won the World Series last year, and if we want to be for real, we have to beat these teams," closer Casey Janssen said. "We're not scared of them or anything like that. We respect them, but we want to beat them. The distance we can separate ourselves from them, or any other team in our division, is important for us, May, September or whenever it is."
Blue Jays: Announcement on fifth starter coming soon
Manager John Gibbons said he expects to make a final decision on his club's No. 5 starter by Wednesday afternoon.
Toronto has been without a fifth starter since Dustin McGowan moved into the bullpen on May 15. Monday's off-day helped delay the need for a replacement, but the Blue Jays will need another starter for Saturday afternoon's game against Oakland. The outing will go to either Triple-A Buffalo starter Liam Hendriks or Blue Jays long reliever Todd Redmond.
"It'll either be Redmond or Hendriks," Gibbons said Tuesday afternoon in the visitors' dugout at Fenway Park. "We'll see how that all plays out."
Red Sox: Bogaerts heading to third
With Boston agreeing to a one-year deal with free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew on Tuesday, one of the biggest questions now becomes what will the club do with Xander Bogaerts.
After starting 40 of Boston's 43 games at shortstop, Bogaerts' role moving forward will depend on a few factors.
"Likely he goes to third base, particularly against right-handed starters. It's also going to depend upon who's on this team, what the roster looks like when Stephen comes back to us," manager John Farrell said. "That's not to suggest any other moves. We'll put the best alignment on the field to win that night."
• The Blue Jays have hit at least one home run in 22 of their past 27 games dating back to April 22. They've out-homered the opposition 45-24 over that same span and finished Tuesday night's game with the AL lead in extra-base hits at 161.
• Melky Cabrera continues to swing a hot bat for Toronto as he went 4-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs and three runs scored in Tuesday night's 7-4 victory over Boston. Cabrera also tied his career high with three extra-base hits, which was the first time he accomplished that feat since July 3, 2011.
• Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli went 2-for-4 with a walk during Tuesday's loss to Toronto and has now reached base in all but two of his 41 games this season. Napoli has reached base in all 24 games at Fenway Park, which is the longest streak to begin a season since Kevin Youkilis reached in his first 32 games during the 2007 season.
• Right-hander Burke Badenhop worked 1 1/3 perfect innings for Boston on Tuesday night. He has not allowed a run in his past 18 innings, which spans 14 games dating back to April 21 against Baltimore.