(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of one-win starters hit the mound Sunday at Rogers Centre in the final contest of a three-game series between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Clay Buchholz takes the hill for Boston, while Toronto counters with former NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.
Buchholz, the ace of the Boston rotation, gets his first start since the Red Sox fired pitching coach Juan Nieves Thursday. The 30-year-old Buchholz didn't help keep Nieves around with his dismal 1-4 record and 6.03 earned run average, although the righty does have 40 strikeouts this season.
"I wasn't surprised," Nieves said of his dismissal. "We were not pitching well and had a below-average month. I understand the decision that was made. I'm accountable for them."
The Sox have lost all of Buchholz's last five starts, and he's picked up the defeat in four of them. His last outing was a rough 6 1/3-inning stint against Tampa Bay Monday, in which he gave up nine hits and five runs in the 5-1 defeat.
Before that, Buchholz lasted just 2 2/3 innings against the same Blue Jays squad he will face Sunday. He surrendered five runs (four earned) on six hits before being pulled. In 25 career games versus Toronto, Buchholz is 11-9 with a 3.38 ERA.
Dickey hasn't been as dreadful as Buchholz this season. The 40-year-old righty is 1-3 with a 4.38 ERA, but has had control issues evidenced by just 20 strikeouts and 16 walks.
His start Monday was exceptionally positive, though. Dickey went eight innings against the Yankees and allowed just one run on three hits, although he struck out none. The Blue Jays picked up the 3-1 victory.
The slump continued for the Red Sox on Saturday night in the team's 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays - the second match in a row in which Toronto was able to hang seven runs on Boston. The Sox have dropped 14 of their last 20 games since starting the season 7-3.
Edwin Encarnacion belted his fifth home run of the season and drove in three runs to propel the Blue Jays. Josh Donaldson drove in his 20th RBI of the season and scored two runs after going 3-for-5 at the plate.
Drew Hutchison was stellar on the mound for Toronto, surrendering seven hits and just one run in five innings of work, adding six strikeouts. The Jays held a 5-1 advantage by the time he was pulled from the game.
Meanwhile, Joe Kelly struggled mightily for the Red Sox on the mound. Kelly only gave up four hits, but surrendered six runs and seven walks in just 5 2/3 innings pitched. He was tagged with his second loss of the season.
"I was missing a lot of pitches today," Kelly said. "I battled myself early in the first couple of innings."
Dustin Pedroia plated the only run for Boston. Mookie Betts and Pablo Sandoval each registered a pair of hits.
The Blue Jays took a 3-2 series advantage on the season with the win.