The Blue Jays went to Fenway Park at the end of July and swept the Red Sox in convincing fashion. But since then, Toronto has been victorious in just one series (1-5-1).
On Tuesday at Rogers Centre against Boston, the Blue Jays will look to avoid dropping another three-game set behind righty R.A. Dickey. Rubby De La Rosa will take the hill for the Red Sox, who snapped an eight-game losing streak Monday.
Dickey has three wins in as many tries against Boston this season. He's given up just six earned runs in 19 1/3 innings, including a dominant outing on July 28 that was overshadowed by Toronto's offensive eruption. He allowed a run, three hits, one walk and fanned a season-high 10 batters over seven innings in a 14-1 win.
Since that start, though, Dickey has posted a 5.11 ERA and .293/.364/.485 slash line over four outings. He allowed five runs on eight hits Wednesday in a 9-5 win over Milwaukee. The Blue Jays erupted for five in the sixth inning, but Dickey gave a pair back by allowing a two-out, two-run homer.
"I expect more out of myself, especially there in the sixth," Dickey said. "I was one out away from a tolerable outing, but I've got to get better at being able to close out innings where we score runs in the top of the inning. I was right there, just one bad floating knuckleball and it was a two-run home run. I fought hard, as hard as I could."
De La Rosa, meanwhile, has turned much better numbers at Fenway Park than away from it. At home, the 25-year-old righty has a 3.16 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. On the road, he's 1-3 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.
On Thursday against the Angels, De La Rosa surrendered eight hits but just two runs over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-0 Halos win at Fenway. He tied a season high with eight strikeouts and walked three.
"After the second inning, [when] he did a very good job pitching out of a bases-loaded jam, I thought he settled in," manager John Farrell said, referencing an inning in which De La Rosa struck out Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout with the bases loaded. "He was really strong early on, with better velocity than we've seen. He settled in and was very good. Very good changeup, good slider at times."
Red Sox: Ortiz sits with bruised foot
This past weekend was a tough one for David Ortiz's body. He sat Thursday with general soreness, likely because he was on base and running so much in the days prior. On Saturday, he got hit above the left elbow with a fastball and exited the game.
On Sunday, Ortiz fouled a pitch off his right foot and stayed in the game. After singling during his next at-bat, Kelly Johnson pinch-ran for the Red Sox slugger. On Monday, Boston held Ortiz out of the lineup with a bruised right foot.
Ortiz didn't take batting practice Monday, but he said he hoped to play Tuesday.
"I think I got away with [something] right there," Ortiz said. "That ball I hit off my foot -- I hit the ball off my foot all the time -- but I think that was like the worst I've ever hit a ball of my foot. I went down to the ground. It was a pitch that was cutting in, so it felt like the same velocity that the pitch was coming in was the same or more than hit my foot. That's why it hurt so bad."
Ortiz has been one of the lone bright spots this season for the Red Sox, who are 7-13 in August. This month, he's hit .361/.462/.672 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. He's raised his average 15 points and his on-base percentage 18 points in August, as well.
Ortiz also loves hitting in the Rogers Centre. His 37 home runs there are the most of any visiting player and his 96 RBIs rank second behind only Alex Rodriguez (97).
Blue Jays: Sticking with Janssen as closer
Righty Casey Janssen wasn't available Monday because he pitched back-to-back days, but when he is ready to throw again, he'll still be Toronto's closer.
Janssen has had a rocky last month, allowing 10 earned runs over 13 2/3 innings since the All-Star break. The 32-year-old blew his fourth save of the season Saturday against the Rays.
"We need him to be good, we need him to pick it up, that's for sure," manager John Gibbons said. "But we could say that about a few guys. We haven't decided to [remove him from his role]."
Janssen missed all of April with a left abdominal and lower back strain. Janssen felt some soreness in his right shoulder during Spring Training, but he didn't allow a run in his first nine appearances after coming off the disabled list in mid-May. The club insists the surgically repaired shoulder isn't causing his problems now.
• Brock Holt will be Boston's regular shortstop with Xander Bogaerts on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Bogaerts was hit in the head with a Felix Hernandez changeup Friday night and will rejoin the team this weekend in St. Petersburg, when he's eligible to return.
Holt, the Red Sox's super-utility man, has played shortstop eight times this season, and he needs to catch and pitch to check all nine spots on the field off his positional list.
• Blue Jays starters have allowed at least four runs in eight of the club's last 12 games.
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.