Even before a lengthy team-mandated break, Felix Doubront was likely on the bubble to make the Boston Red Sox's playoff roster.
The left-hander will try to make his case for a spot and help the Red Sox move a step closer to clinching the AL's best record in Sunday's series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Red Sox sat Doubront (10-6, 4.15 ERA) after he put up a 12.27 ERA and failed to make it past the fourth inning in two starts earlier this month. He was charged with six runs over 3 2-3 innings in the final of those outings Sept. 6 but avoided a loss when the Red Sox rallied for a 12-8 win against the New York Yankees .
Boston (94-62) made the decision to have Doubront rest two days later with Clay Buchholz returning to the rotation.
"It's going to help," Doubront told the team's website. "(The rest is) good. I feel like I need it. The last start wasn't the same delivery. Just rest a little bit and work in the bullpen."
Judging by his 0-2 record and a 6.33 ERA in his last four starts against Toronto, this might not be an ideal spot for Doubront's potentially brief return to the rotation. The left-hander, though, has put up a respectable 3.97 ERA in two matchups this season.
Doubront allowed two runs over 6 1-3 innings to the Blue Jays (71-83) at Fenway Park on June 29 but didn't get enough support in a 6-2 loss.
The Red Sox could use another solid outing to pad a 1 1/2-game lead over Oakland for the AL's best record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. With Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli out of the lineup, Boston fell 4-2 to Toronto on Saturday, a day after clinching the AL East title.
Doubront might have trouble getting runs to work with in this game with R.A. Dickey (13-12, 4.21) riding a season-high win streak. The knuckleballer is 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his last five starts and struck out eight over seven innings in a 2-0 win over the Yankees on Tuesday.
"It's nice to continue to grow," Dickey told the team's website. "These are important games for me in particular, at least I see them as that, because we're going to be competing next year and it's important to try and get it right, now. So, every time I come to the field, I'm still trying to work on it."
Dickey will try to work on having a better performance against the Red Sox after enduring a 13-0 loss in his only matchup this season April 7. The right-hander gave up a season-high eight runs and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings in that game.
Will Middlebrooks hit two of his three home runs and a double off Dickey in that victory, but he's 4 for 32 (.125) in his last nine games.
Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes is 3 for 6 with two doubles against Doubront this season.
|Jackie Bradley Jr.||2||.000||0||0||0||1||1||.333||.333||.000|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|September 21, 2013||Colby Rasmus||15-Day DL||Bruised left eye|
|September 17, 2013||Edwin Encarnacion||Day-to-Day||Left wrist surgery - out for season|
|September 16, 2013||Edwin Encarnacion||15-Day DL||Left wrist surgery - out for season|
|September 13, 2013||Brett Cecil||15-Day DL||Left elbow discomfort|
|September 08, 2013||Moises Sierra||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back tightness|
|August 21, 2013||Jose Bautista||15-Day DL||Left hip bone bruise - out for season|
|Boston Red Sox|
|September 01, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left hip contusion|
|August 29, 2013||Mike Carp||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder irritation|
|August 17, 2013||Mike Napoli||Day-to-Day||Sore left foot|
|August 08, 2013||Brandon Snyder||15-Day DL||Ulnar neuritis, right elbow|
|August 08, 2013||Brandon Snyder||15-Day DL||Ulnar neuritis, right elbow|
|August 05, 2013||Matt Thornton||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
BOSTON (AP) -- Two years after leaving in the middle of an unprecedented September collapse and one year after slinking away to finish the franchise's worst season in half a century, the Boston Red Sox wrapped things up at Fenway Park with the knowledge that they will be back.
David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley Jr. homered to lead the Red Sox to a 5-2 victory over the last-place Toronto Blue Jays in Boston's regular-season home finale Sunday. After a five-game road trip to Colorado and Baltimore, the Red Sox will return for the AL division series in October.
"The energy that's created here and the way the guys embrace it, it has been our advantage once again," manager John Farrell said. "We have heard a lot lately about the last couple of Septembers, but that has not penetrated the minds of anyone in this clubhouse."
Three days after clinching a playoff berth, two days after securing the AL East title and one day after giving many starters the day off to sleep off the celebration, the Red Sox returned to winning. Boston took the three-game series - its 33rd series victory of the season - and finished 53-28 at home.
With 95 wins, the Red Sox have the best record in baseball and a lead in the race for home-field advantage through the World Series.
"We're going out to win games and be aggressive," said Felix Doubront , who made his first start since Sept. 6 and his last before moving to the bullpen to be ready for the playoffs. "We'll try to go hard every game."
Doubront (11-6) gave up two runs on four hits and two walks, striking out two. Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save.
Kevin Pillar homered and added an RBI single for Toronto. Reigning NL Cy Young -winner R.A. Dickey (13-13) allowed five runs on six hits and a walk, with a season-high 11 strikeouts in his third complete game of the season.
"He gives up fly balls. That's part of being a knuckleballer," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "But he threw a tremendous game. Two home runs. You can't take away the home runs. We battled, but we just couldn't get anything going against Doubront."
The Red Sox took the lead in the bottom of the second, when Dickey allowed three singles - two of them bloopers - and then Bradley's three-run homer. Like Ortiz's solo shot in the sixth, it was a high fly ball that got caught in the wind blowing out to right field.
"If a ball got up above the elevation of the roof, it was going," Dickey said. "Those two got up and they kept going."
Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Pillar's single before Boston made it 4-1 in the bottom half. After the Blue Jays cut the lead to 4-2 on Pillar's homer off the top of the Green Monster, Ortiz made it a three-run game with a towering shot into the Toronto bullpen.
Ortiz was also given a double in the third inning even though replays showed he slid into second baseman Ryan Goins ' glove and should have been out.
NOTES: Toronto's Rajai Davis stole his 45th base of the season in the eighth. ... The Red Sox unveiled a statue of Carl Yastrzemski outside the ballpark before the game. .. Red Sox manager John Farrell said he is optimistic CF Jacoby Ellsbury (broken bone in right foot) will be able to return Wednesday, in time to get ready for the playoffs. ... The Red Sox won 95 games for the seventh time since 2003. ... Toronto travels to Chicago for a makeup game Monday against the White Sox, then on to Baltimore. The Red Sox have a day off before playing two in Colorado and three in Baltimore. ... Red Sox rookies were dressed in kilts and tam o'Shanters for the on-field family picnic after the game. ... Farrell tweaked the rotation for the last series against Baltimore. Clay Buchholz will be followed by Jon Lester and John Lackey .