Red Sox-Blue Jays Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- After getting their first look at one starting pitcher who was acquired in their November megadeal, the Toronto Blue Jays will get to see the other in their next game.
Josh Johnson will make his AL debut in Friday night's opener of a three-game series against the visiting Boston Red Sox, who are led by former Blue Jays manager John Farrell.
The Blue Jays got Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes as part of a 12-player deal with Miami on Nov. 19, and while Buehrle wasn't at his best Thursday, Toronto's offense woke up in the series finale against Cleveland.
After producing a combined three runs and nine hits in back-to-back defeats, the Blue Jays matched that hit total and had five home runs in a 10-8 victory. J.P. Arencibia had two of those longballs and Jose Bautista hit his second in as many games.
"I think everyone has an idea of what this offense is capable of," Arencibia said. "Two games don't make your season and no one's worried. Everyone knows what we have in this clubhouse."
Bautista twisted his ankle while beating out an attempted double play relay in the eighth inning but doesn't expect to miss any time.
"Hopefully tomorrow I'll wake up great and I'll be in the lineup and go beat the Red Sox," he said.
The Blue Jays will try to keep hitting in support of Johnson, a two-time All-Star in Miami. The right-hander, though, had one of his worst campaigns in 2012 as he went 8-14 with a 3.81 ERA, his highest in five seasons.
That didn't change manager John Gibbons' opinion when the trade was completed in November.
"Josh Johnson, arguably, over the last few years was the most sought out pitcher out there," Gibbons said.
Perhaps Johnson was coveted by Gibbons for his strong record against AL teams, 8-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 17 starts. He was 6-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his last 10, a stretch that included a 4-1 win over Boston on June 11 as he allowed one run over seven innings.
This time, he'll face a team that started hot in its season-opening series with the New York Yankees but cooled off a bit in Thursday's 4-2 defeat. The Red Sox had a combined 15 runs and 26 hits in the first two games but had nine hits in the finale.
Boston's chance to bounce back from that defeat will also mark Farrell's return to Toronto, where he managed the previous two seasons and went 154-170.
"Definitely looking forward to it," he told the team's website. "They've got a good team. We're looking to compete against them. I'm sure the excitement that's around the Blue Jays because of the changes they've gone through in the offseason, this will be a very good challenge for us."
Farrell is slated to give the ball to Felix Doubront, who was 11-10 with a 4.86 ERA in 29 starts last season after pitching out of the bullpen in 23 of 26 appearances in 2010 and 2011. The left-hander was 10-4 with a 4.24 ERA in his first 18 starts but 1-6 with a 5.95 ERA over his last 11.
He went 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in his final two matchups with the Blue Jays last season but was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his two starts in Toronto.
Updated April 5, 2013
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