video thumbnail

NYY@TOR: Dickey fans eight over seven shutout innings

While the Red Sox have already secured the American League East, each win still carries huge significance. That's because Boston is fighting for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

"We're not downplaying the importance of maintaining home-field advantage. We have the ability to control our own destiny in that," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We're setting out as we have every other game this season, and that's to win."

With six games left in the regular season, the Red Sox (94-62) hold a 2 1/2-game lead over the Tigers and a 1 1/2-game edge over the A's for the best record in the AL.

The Red Sox will go for a series win against the Blue Jays in Sunday's rubber game at Fenway Park, trying to get one step closer to that goal.

Left-hander Felix Doubront returns to the hill after a two-week rest. Boston decided to rest him after he allowed 10 runs in 7 1/3 innings in his last two starts.

In his last game on Sept. 6, Doubront allowed six runs on three hits in just 3 2/3 innings against the Yankees in a no-decision.

"Mechanically, it's a little bit off," Doubront said after his last start. "I don't know. I got no words for what happened today. Just that I wasn't able to repeat the fastball. I have to figure out something."

Meanwhile, Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey gets the nod after one of his best starts of the season. The 38-year-old tossed seven shutout innings against the Yankees last Tuesday, holding them to just four hits. It marked his second scoreless outing of the season at Rogers Centre.

It did take 51 pitches for Dickey to get through the first two innings. However, he settled down after that, tossing 50 pitches over the next five innings.

"He got stronger as he went on, I think. That was the difference," catcher Josh Thole said after the start. "You could see it in his velocity, it kind of jumped up in the third inning, he was throwing the harder one consistently and it was all over."

The biggest difference for Dickey of late has been his knuckleball, something he'll try to sustain for the rest of the season.

"I was throwing good knuckleballs. I thought I had a couple of pitches 3-2 that ended up being balls, but outside of that, it was moving pretty drastically tonight," Dickey said after the start. "Even in the first two innings, I knew I had a pretty good one, and just needed to stay the course."

Blue Jays: Rasmus lands on DL
Outfielder Colby Rasmus was placed on the disabled list after Friday night's 6-3 loss to the Red Sox, officially ending his season.

In a freak accident, Rasmus was running onto the field for warmups prior to the bottom of the first inning, when he was struck in the face by a wild throw from right fielder Anthony Gose.

Preliminary results didn't reveal any structural damage to the bone around his left eye, but Rasmus was slated to stay in Boston for a few days to undergo further tests.

"He is going on the DL but preliminary X-rays, everything looks good, but they still want -- in a few days when the swelling goes down -- to get another look," manager John Gibbons said. "But as of now it looks pretty good."

Red Sox: Ellsbury expected to return before finale
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is on track to return to the lineup before the last regular-season game against the Orioles on Sept. 29.

Ellsbury hasn't played since Sept. 5 because of a compression fracture in his right foot. He was able to do some running, throwing and hitting before Saturday's game against the Blue Jays.

"He's making steady progress," Farrell said. "We're hopeful that he'll be back in our lineup sometime in this coming trip."

Worth noting
• Red Sox infielder Will Middlebrooks made his first career start at first base on Saturday.

• In one start against the Red Sox earlier this season, Dickey allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings for the loss. Comments