Beckett tries to stay hot vs. Jays

Beckett tries to stay hot for Sox in Toronto

There's nothing better than sending out your most effective starter -- an undefeated one, no less -- to open a three-game series on the road. After losing the Roger Clemens sweepstakes for the second consecutive year, at least the Red Sox can console themselves with Josh Beckett's dominance as he faces the B.J. Ryan-less Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he sees more swagger in Beckett.

"He's got that cocky [attitude], which I like," Francona said. "He didn't have that last year. When you say something to him, you're going to get something [witty] back. If he loses his next game, it's not going to change what kind of pitcher he is."

Left fielder Manny Ramirez, who is hot, and shortstop Julio Lugo, who isn't, are expected to be back in the lineup after Francona gave them Sunday off in Minnesota. The Sox have won nine of 12 on the road, with their pitching staff compiling a 2.31 ERA in that span.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (6-0, 2.72)
Boston's ace in the early part of the season, Beckett will try to make it seven victories in as many starts. This is Beckett's first appearance this season against Toronto. He struggled against the Jays last year, going 1-2 with a 6.21 ERA in five starts. This will be Beckett's third start on the road, where he is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .219 against him this season, and he has limited the long ball. After allowing 36 homers last year, Beckett has given up one so far.

TOR: RHP Victor Zambrano (0-1, 5.63)
Manager John Gibbons said on Friday that Zambrano would likely take the mound on Tuesday. "We're trying to build him up," Gibbons said. Zambrano got his first start of the season May 2 at Cleveland, in which he lasted only 2 2/3 innings, surrendering two runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out one. He threw 65 pitches. Zambrano has made six appearances this season out of the bullpen.

Player to watch
After a .188 start, Ramirez is starting to heat up. He brings a six-game hitting streak, in which he is 11-for-25 (.440) with three homers and six RBIs.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• 680 WRKO

Up next
• Wednesday: Red Sox (RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, 3-2, 5.45) at Blue Jays (TBA), 7:07 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Red Sox (RHP Tim Wakefield, 3-3, 2.11) at Blue Jays (RHP Roy Halladay, 4-1, 3.59), 7:07 p.m. ET
• Friday: Orioles (TBA) at Red Sox (RHP Julian Tavarez, 1-3, 6.48), 7:05 p.m. ET

Pat Borzi is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.