Red Sox-Blue Jays Preview
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- The Boston Red Sox are at the bottom of the AL East and all but mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
The Toronto Blue Jays' tailspin is severely denting their playoff hopes.
Dustin Pedroia and Yoenis Cespedes look to continue pounding the Blue Jays and help the Red Sox sweep this three-game series Wednesday night.
Boston (58-74) snapped an eight-game slide with a 4-3 win over Toronto in 10 innings Monday and followed that by scoring seven runs in the 11th en route to an 11-7 win a day later.
Despite those victories, the Red Sox are well out of the postseason chase and the Blue Jays (66-66) are getting closer to joining them after losing 16 of 22 this month.
Toronto is 6 1/2 games behind Seattle for the AL's second wild-card spot and is .500 for the first time since May 15. The Blue Jays have played four straight extra-inning games, losing three.
"It's tough," reliever Casey Janssen said. "We lost another tough game in extra innings."
Pedroia is 7 for 18 (.389) with seven RBIs in the past four games with Toronto. He has three hits in this series, hitting two homers and driving in six runs, including a season high-matching four Tuesday.
Cespedes is 10 for 22 (.455) with seven RBIs in five overall games. He's 5 for 11 with two RBIs in this series.
Boston has five homers in two games, two more than its total over the prior eight.
The Red Sox will try to continue their improved offense against Marcus Stroman (7-5, 4.11 ERA), who allowed one run over 14 innings in back-to-back wins over them July 24 and 29.
That was part of the rookie right-hander's three-game winning streak during which he yielded one run in 21 innings. However, he's 0-3 with an 8.66 ERA in four starts since and his latest didn't inspire much hope.
Stroman was tagged for six runs and a season-high 10 hits with three walks in five innings of Friday's 8-0 loss to Tampa Bay.
"It's extremely frustrating," Stroman said.
The Red Sox are countering with Joe Kelly (0-1, 4.09), who gets a fifth chance at his first win since being acquired in a trade with St. Louis on July 31.
The right-hander's last outing Friday was cut short due to a shoulder ailment after he tossed five scoreless innings. Koji Uehara surrendered five runs in the ninth in a 5-3 loss to Seattle.
"After a battery of tests that he went through after the game that didn't reproduce any of the symptoms, it was followed up with him feeling well and he's on target to start," manager John Farrell told MLB's official website.
Kelly has held Jose Reyes hitless in five at-bats, but hasn't faced him since 2012. The Blue Jays' shortstop enters this matchup with a .353 average in 14 games and he's 9 for 24 (.375) in his last five at home against Boston.
Updated August 27, 2014