Indians starter Justin Masterson has had a breakout season in 2011 because he's sticking to a plan -- he just wishes he had more offense behind him.
Bedard, the veteran left-hander, arrived in Boston as part of a three-team trade with his former team, the Mariners, and the Dodgers, and will begin the task of building back up to full strength. Prior to his final start with the Mariners, which came on July 29, two days before he was dealt to Boston, he had been on the disabled list with a knee strain.
His rust showed, as he was roughed up for five runs in 1 1/3 innings against the Rays. Thursday's plan is for Bedard to throw 75 to 80 pitches and get into the condition the Red Sox want him to be down the stretch as he takes the place of Buchholz, who might be lost for the season with a stress fracture in his back.
"[People have] got to remember that this is his second start [back]," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He probably should be almost still on rehab. He went a month without pitching. Whether the media, the fans, want to be patient, that's your guys' prerogative. We need to be [patient] because what we want to do is balance winning now, which is important, [with getting] this guy really locked in for what we want to do going forward.
"Pitching him 110 pitches tomorrow wouldn't do that. ... You look at his stats, his numbers are eerily similar to Buchholz's this year. I mean, like, right there. It's amazing."
For Masterson, the former Red Sox prospect, the power sinker is the key, and the results have been there for him all year, especially lately. Masterson is 3-3 with a 1.76 ERA over his last 11 games (10 starts) and has only given up eight earned runs in his last 52 1/3 innings (1.38 ERA) covering his last eight games (seven starts).
In his most recent outing, he gave up two runs in eight innings against Kansas City, but he was handed a no-decision in a game Cleveland would eventually win. It was another example of the frustrating lack of run support for Masterson this season.
The Indians have scored two runs or fewer in 10 of his 22 starts and have scored one run or fewer in six of those, with the offense being shut out four times.
But Masterson has mastered the Red Sox so far, going 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA in three outings against them. That's why Tribe manager Manny Acta opted to stick with him despite the offer from the newest Indians pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez, to make his first start with the Tribe on Thursday.
"We didn't want to move Masterson," Acta said. "He's pitched well against the Red Sox, and he's a guy we want to continue on his five-day rotation."
Indians: Kipnis on a homer tear
Second baseman Jason Kipnis homered again on Wednesday in his 10th Major League game, marking the fourth straight game in which he's hit a long ball. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first player to hit a homer in four straight games within the first 10 games of his Major League career since Graig Nettles did it in 1968 for the Twins.
The Indians on Thursday will likely again be without outfielder Michael Brantley, who is dealing with a sore right wrist, an injury that's been bothering him for more than a week.
"He's been toughing it out and doesn't want to get out of the lineup, but our medical staff thinks that at least a day or two [off is needed] so it can heal properly," Acta said. "We appreciate him toughing him out, but we need to get him healthy."
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is going to take batting practice with the team on Thursday for the first time since having surgery on his left thumb.
"I can't believe how quick of a healer this guy is," Acta said. "He seems a lot closer than we would expect at this point, by the way I saw him swing the bat, so that's good news."
Red Sox: Home 'Laser Show' continues
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia's career-high hitting streak might be over, but he still has hit safely in each of his last 25 games at Fenway Park since June 4, batting .426 with eight doubles, a triple, seven homers, 16 RBIs and 27 runs in that span.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez has hit safely in each of his last 13 games, his longest streak of the season and the second-longest of his career behind two 17-game runs in 2006. It is also the longest active hit streak among American League batters. Gonzalez is batting at a .500 clip with four doubles, a homer, 12 RBIs, 11 runs and five walks over the current 13-game span.
Outfielder Carl Crawford is batting .323 with four doubles and three homers in nine games against the Indians this season. He's also hit in nine of 15 games since coming off the disabled list on July 18.
Indians closer Chris Perez is 22-for-24 in save opportunities this season, and since Aug. 12 of last year, he's saved 32 of 34 chances. Both of his blown saves this year have come in one-run situations.
Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie, who has been on the 15-day DL since June 17 with a left shoulder strain, is slated to continue his rehab with Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday vs. Buffalo, starting at shortstop.