When the series between the Red Sox and Jays opened on Tuesday, it wasn't clear who the starter for Thursday was going to be for Toronto. The guess was J.A. Happ, as Josh Johnson had been held out of his previous start due to triceps inflammation, but that was just that, a guess.
Now we know it definitely won't be Johnson, though, as he's heading to the disabled list. Happ is scheduled for Thursday, and will pitch on four days rest, as his previous start came on Saturday. Happ has been Toronto's best pitcher this year, and while that's great for Happ, who was given an opportunity to start when Ricky Romero was optioned to the minors at the season's start, it's been pretty terrible for the last place Jays. As a unit, their starters have a 5.33 ERA, and that's with Happ at 3.86 and 20 percent better than league average.
So, it's a little disappointing to see that Happ, who held Boston scoreless through 5-1/3 in his first start of the season, will face Ryan Dempster on Thursday. However, it's even more disappointing when you learn that the aforementioned Romero is back in the majors, but pitching on Friday against the Mariners instead of against the Red Sox.
I can't confirm this, but his career 7.12 ERA in 15 starts against the Red Sox might have something to do with that scheduling. He's trying to work his way back from some career-threatening command issues, and facing off against a team that has historically made him look like a minor-league hurler probably isn't the confidence booster the Jays are looking for, especially not when they are now without one of their off-season's top pitching acquisitions.
Initially, I was upset the baseball gods had slighted Boston by pushing Romero to Friday. But, given the Sox are in first place in the AL East with the best record in the majors despite injuries to the bullpen, David Ortiz, Shane Victorino, and John Lackey, I guess they can do without a Romero-shaped bounty. Things have been going their way to start.