BOSTON, MA - JULY 20: Aaron Laffey #32 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Boston Red Sox as the sun sets over Fenway Park during the game on July 20, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Note: Although the game tonight was originally scheduled for 7:10 pm, there will be a 10-minute delay to the beginning of the game to allow for a pre-game ceremony for retired Red Sox catcher Jason Veritek. Veritek spent his entire 15-year Major League career (1997-2011) with Boston and is the Red Sox' all-time leader in games caught (1,488), almost 500 more games than Carlton Fisk, and is one of only five catchers in MLB history to catch more than 1,400 games with a single club (Johnny Bench, Bill Dickey, Bill Freehan, Jorge Posada are the others). He was also named the Red Sox' 18th full time captain. (Hat tip to Tom Young of Sportsnet 590 The Fan for tweeting about this delay.)
Tonight in Fenway Park, the Toronto Blue Jays look to notch a second win against the Boston Red Sox to even their second half record at 4-4. The Blue Jays will be able to use the services of Brett Lawrie tonight, who is returning to the hot corner after sitting out just one game to recover from what looked like a very bad fall into the Yankees Stadium camera bay on Wednesday.
The two starters tonight are Aaron Cook for the Red Sox and Carlos Villanueva for the Blue Jays.
Cook, 33, signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox back in January after enjoying a three-year, $27 million contract with the Colorado Rockies. He began the season with AAA Pawtucket before being called-up by Boston in a spot-start for Josh Beckett in the beginning of May. Cook left that game with a knee injury that ultimately landed him on the 15-day disabled list and did not pitch again until June 24 when he filled in for Clay Buchholz. Since his return, he threw a complete game shutout against the Seattle Mariners, but that hardly counts as anything to write home about. Against Chicago in his last outing, he only gave up 1 unearned run in 7 innings, but he did not strike out any White Sox. In fact, his only 2 strikeouts this season came against the Mariners. He is a contact pitcher who has held batters to a .256/.269/.402 slash line, but has been a beneficiary of a .249 BABIP. I would love to see a matchup between him and organization-mate Shaq Green-Thompson.
|2012 - Aaron Cook||2-2||5||5||1||1||0||0||29.2||30||14||11||2||2||2||3.34||1.08|
Villanueva, 28, has pitched well in his three starts this season, boasting a 1.59 ERA, and holding opponents to .230/.294/.295 while recording 21 strikeouts against 6 walks. In his last start against the Cleveland Indians, he struck out 8 through 6 scoreless innings, but he did record an uncharacteristic 5 walks. He made a single appearance, in relief, against the Red Sox this season, in which he gave up a solo homer to Nick Punto. As a converted reliever, Villanueva will not be expected to record more than 6 or 7 innings tonight.
|2012 - Carlos Villanueva||4-0||25||3||0||0||0||0||50.1||40||16||15||5||27||57||2.68||1.33|
Earlier on today, reliever Jason Frasor was placed on the 15-day disabled list, but manager John Farrell will be able to call on newly-acquired reliever Brandon Lyon if necessary. Lyon, Chad Beck, and Darren Oliver are available to bridge the gap to closer Casey Janssen. J.A. Happ, who will be starting his Blue Jays career in the bullpen, will be playing the role of long reliever. Lyon will be wearing #31 in his second stint with Toronto, having previously worn #28. Happ will be switching from the #30 he wore in Houston to #48, which was vacated by Francisco Cordero.
|TORONTO BLUE JAYS||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Anthony Gose - RF||Daniel Nava - RF|
|Brett Lawrie - 3B||Carl Crawford - LF|
|Colby Rasmus - CF||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Edwin Encarnacion - 1B||Adrian Gonzalez - 1B|
|Adam Lind - DH||Cody Ross - DH|
|J.P. Arencibia - C||Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C|
|Kelly Johnson - 2B||Will Middlebrooks - 3B|
|Yunel Escobar - SS||Ryan Sweeney - CF|
|Travis Snider - LF||Pedro Ciriaco - SS|
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GO JAYS GO!!!