Tavarez gets finale nod after long layoff
Boston (8-5) at Toronto (8-6), 12:37 p.m. ET
Out of mothballs and on to the mound, Red Sox right-hander Julian Tavarez will pitch Thursday's rubber match of a three-game series against the Blue Jays on 11 days of rest.
When the Red Sox had two rainouts at Fenway last week, Tavarez was the one who twice got bumped from a scheduled start. He'll try to use all his pent-up energy to his advantage when he takes on the Jays.
"If you want the time to go fast, you can't control it," Tavarez said. "Just take it day by day. Just do my little things like my running and my long-toss."
The last time Tavarez pitched at Rogers Centre was Sept. 22, and he responded with his best performance in a Boston uniform. Tavarez went the distance that night, downing the Jays, 7-1.
Tavarez's took the loss in his previous start, an 8-4 defeat in Texas on April 7. Sox manager Terry Francona does not plan on keeping Tavarez on a short leash simply because he hasn't pitched in a while.
"I don't think we need to send him into a start thinking he's going to go short," Francona said. "I think it will depend on how he pitches. He has that ability. He pitched six innings in winter ball after being home. I don't think that's much of an issue. It will be more how he's pitching."
Tavarez will likely need to be at this best. He'll be opposed by one of the best in the game in Jays ace Roy Halladay.
BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (0-1, 9.00 ERA)
Tavarez will be making his first start in 12 days when he finally gets the ball again in the series finale against the Blue Jays. Command was an issue in his previous start, as he walked five while striking out three in his 2007 debut as Boston's fifth starter. Tavarez has twice had his second start pushed back, after Red Sox rainouts on April 12 and again on Sunday. TOR: RHP Roy Halladay (2-0, 2.35 ERA)
Halladay has been his usual dominant self to start the 2007 season. On Friday he outdueled Tigers ace Jeremy Bonderman to earn his second win of the season. The former Cy Young Award winner allowed only one run on six hits over 10 innings of work against the Tigers. Halladay is 8-7 with a 4.60 ERA in 27 appearances vs. the Red Sox.
Player to watch
Jays leadoff man Alex Rios is 5-for-6 lifetime against Tavarez, including a triple.
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Friday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 2-1, 2.84) vs. Yankees (LHP Andy Pettitte, 1-0, 1.50), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 3-0, 1.50) vs. Yankees (Jeff Karstens, 2-1, 3.80 ERA in 2006), 3:55 p.m. ET
Sunday: Red Sox (RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, 1-2, 2.70) vs. Yankees (LHP Chase Wright, 1-0, 5.40), 8:05 p.m. ET