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  • 02 Apr
    TORONTO -- The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays open an American League East showdown series on Friday at Rogers Centre with first place at stake.The way the struggling Blue Jays have been playing, they could find the series a battle for survival in a tight race.The Red Sox, on the other hand, are playing better than Toronto and could use the three-game set to vault into a significant lead.Boston has a chance to make a strong start Friday as Rick Porcello (19-3, 3.23 ERA) attempts to become the first 20-game winner in the majors this season.Toronto will counter with Marco Estrada (8-7, 3.56 ERA).The Red Sox took a one-game league in the division over the faltering Blue Jays with their 7-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday while Toronto dropped a 2-0 decision to the New York Yankees on the same night.The Blue Jays were swept in the three-game series at Yankee Stadium and finished a nine-game road trip with a 3-6 mar.We started out doing good in Baltimore (winning two of three) and then the starters got tough on us, Toronto manager John Gibbons said.That scenario does not change for the Blue Jays. Porcello is 4-0 with a 2.52 earned-run average over his past five starts and has won two of his three outings this season against Toronto.The Red Sox have set up their rotation so that David Price, the winning pitcher on Wednesday, could start the final game of the season Oct. 2 at Fenway Park against Toronto.Drew Pomeranz has been given an extra day of rest, allowing Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Clay Buchholz to make their respective starts in Toronto on regular rest.The improved Buchholz has enjoyed success against the Blue Jays and that also figured into the rotation alignment.Theres some of that involved, Red Sox manager John Farrell said. And you start to begin to look at styles and matchups. You take all that into account.He said Price will likely make his remaining starts of the season on regular four days of rest.Toronto has a 7-6 lead in the season series with Boston.The Blue Jays bats were cold on the trip to Baltimore, Tampa Bay and New York. Collectively, the team batted .236/.318/.348 with eight home runs and averaged 3.9 runs a contest (35 for the trip) despite scoring first in seven straight games during the trip.Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, one of the teams better hitters in the second half of the season, tweaked his left knee during an at-bat on Wednesday. He remained in the game and threw out a runner before giving way to a pinch hitter in the ninth.It was kinda something that I just felt when I was swinging, Martin said. It was weird. Just every swing, it was like something was biting me right in that knee. ... It really didnt affect me behind the plate.Despite winning twice against the Blue Jays, Porcello has a 5.21 ERA this season in the three outings and is 1-0 with a 5.68 ERA in two starts at Rogers Centre.In 15 career games, including 14 starts, Porcello is 6-7 with a 5.27 ERA against Toronto. He is 2-5 with a 6.86 ERA in eight career games, including seven starts, at Rogers Centre.Estrada is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts against Boston this season. He is 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA in eight career games (six starts) against the Red Sox. He is 3-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 12 starts this season at Rogers Centre.Martin said the left knee has been bothering him for a while, even during his hot-hitting surge. He batted .286/.356/.626 in August with nine homers and 22 RBI.It would be no surprise, however, if Dioner Navarro, who was re-acquired late last month in a trade with the Chicago White Sox, was behind the plate for Estrada on Friday. Navarro, who worked well with Estrada last season, caught the right-hander in his last start.Martin has been through stretch runs for postseason spots several times in his career.Its the time of the year where if you struggle, its magnified, Martin said. If youre doing well, everybody gets excited. We had a tough series (in New York). Put it behind us. Keep moving forward. Got a lot of baseball ahead. Lot of games left. Were right in it. Cheap Wholesale Air Max 95 . "Trying to breathe," he said with a grin. Bernier stopped 42 of 43 shots on Monday night, including all 22 in a hectic middle frame, his heroic performance propelling the Leafs toward an undue point in their final game before the Christmas break. Air Max 95 Wholesale Canada . Paul Pierce couldnt believe he missed at the end. Young scored a season-high 26 points to spark a huge effort from the leagues most productive bench, and Los Angeles beat the Brooklyn Nets 99-94 on Wednesday night after blowing a 27-point lead. http://www.airmax95canada.com/ . -- Charlie Graham stopped 67 shots as the Belleville Bulls edged the visiting Guelph Storm 6-5 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. Air Max 95 Sale Canada . Wilson hit Schenn from behind during Tuesday nights game in Philadelphia, earning a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. He has a phone hearing with the department of player safety, which limits any potential suspension to five or fewer games. Air Max 95 Cheap Sale . Now tied for second in the league in shootout goals, the 24-year-old likes to see what the opposing goaltender has in store before he ultimately lands on a move. CHICAGO -- Chicago forward Nikola Mirotic was fined after he missed the team walkthrough before the Bulls ugly 95-69 loss to Milwaukee on Friday night, and coach Fred Hoiberg kept him on the bench for the second night.Mirotic said he forgot about the walkthrough, and he apologized to his teammates and Hoiberg. He said it had nothing to do with not playing Thursday night.No, Im not that kind of guy. Even if things are not like how I would like them to be, Im very professional, he said. Its not my first year here. Those guys respect me and I respect them. I would never do that, something like that.Hoiberg said Mirotic worked out Friday morning and they had a meeting, but he wasnt excused from the walkthrough. The 6-foot-10 Mirotic is averaging a career-low 8.7 points through 24 games this season. He is shooting 38 percent from the field and 28 percent from 3-point range, also career lows.Asked about their meeting, Hoiberg said Mirotics mindset was as good as he can be in a situation like that.Obviously, any competitor isnt going to be happy when you get taken out of a lineup, Hoiberg said before the loss to Milwaukee. But talking to him about keeping himself ready ... It was good to see him in there this morning getting in extra work and getting up extra shots, keeping himself prepared when hhis name was called, and thats what we talked about.dddddddddddd Obviously hes going to get another chance this year. Hes got to keep working, keep himself ready, and when opportunity comes, go out and play well.The 25-year-old Mirotic made his NBA debut in 2014 and averaged 10.2 points while playing in all 82 games during his rookie year. He made 38 starts last season and averaged 11.8 points, but he has been plagued by inconsistency throughout his time in Chicago.Its been difficult, Mirotic said of sitting for consecutive games. Its the first time in my career that this is happening, but its the coachs decision, so I have to respect that.Also Friday, guard Michael Carter-Williams got the cast off his injured left wrist and said he is hoping to practice next week. Carter-Williams has been sidelined since Oct. 31 with wrist and left knee injuries.Ive been doing everything with my cast on, he said. Ive been running and working out, just trying to stay in shape, so when I come back it wont take me long to get back to playing (in games).The Bulls acquired Carter-Williams in an October trade with Milwaukee.---Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap ' ' '