Friday August 16, 2013 | 06:01 AM

Playing the doormat Astros, Royals and last-place Blue Jays, the Boston Red Sox figured to have a better road trip than 4-6. But the Royals turned out to be a hot team (winning 3-of-4), and the offense struggled in Toronto.

Now look what the Red Sox face: home for three against the Yankees (who are 5-2 in their last 7 games), then on the road for three in San Francisco (starting Monday after a Sunday night game in Boston), and the anticipated three against the Dodgers, the hottest team in the majors.

Tonight, Boston has Felix Doubront (8-5, 3.66) against ageless Andy Pettitte (7-9, 4.62). Doubront is 3-1 lifetime against the Yankees, with a 2.36 ERA.

The standings: 

Red Sox 72-51
Rays 68-51 (2 games back)
Orioles 65-55 (5.5)
Yankees 62-58 (8.5)
Jays 56-65 (15)

Anthony Ranaudo's third start in Triple-A was not long (5 2/3 innings), nor easy (nine hits). But he was effective (1 run, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts) to lower his ERA to 2.70 ... Chris Martin (3.68) pitched two hitless innings (4 K's) ... Xander Bogaerts (.298) was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Portland was shutout, wasting a start by Terry Doyle: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. His ERA is 3.59 ... Trenton lost so the Sea Dogs did not fall farther back in the standings:

EL East Wild Card Race
Trenton 65-58
New Hampshire 59-63 (5.5 games back)
Portland 58-65 (7)
New Britain 58-66 (7.5)

Salem lefty Miguel Pena (4.00) has allowed only one earned run in each of his last three starts (20 total innings). He went 7 on Thursday: 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K.



About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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