Towers ready for Beckett matchup

Jays set to take on rival Red Sox at Fenway

TORONTO -- The changes that Toronto made in the offseason have many fans and analysts believing the Blue Jays can contend for the division crown this year. If that's the case, Toronto will have to go through New York and Boston, which have finished first and second in the American League East eight years running.

Toronto will get to test out its revamped roster on the road against Boston first. The Jays head to Fenway Park for a three-game series beginning Tuesday and Toronto manager John Gibbons is looking forward to the challenge. Gibbons said he isn't sure what to expect just yet, though, considering the many roster changes the Red Sox made this past winter.

"They're good. I really like the pitching staff that they have," Gibbons said. "It's a different look offensively than they've had in the past, so we don't know them as well.

"Sooner or later, though, if you're going to overtake certain teams, you have to beat them," he added. "It'll be a good test. It'll be fun to watch."

Toronto right-hander Josh Towers will take the mound against Boston righty Josh Beckett in the first game of the series. Towers has a lifetime record of 2-0 at Fenway Park, but his ERA in the stadium is 10.29. Towers went 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA against Boston last season and is 3-3 with a 6.85 ERA versus the Red Sox in his career.

With Beckett on the mound, Toronto will most likely start left-handed hitters Frank Catalanotto and Eric Hinske in left and right field, respectively.

Pitching matchup
TOR: RHP Josh Towers (0-1, 7.71 ERA)
Towers started off strong, but faded fast in his first start of the season -- a loss to the Twins on Wednesday. The right-hander retired eight of the first 10 batters he faced, but then allowed four runs on five hits in the fourth frame and was chased form the game after 4 2/3 innings. He finished with five runs allowed -- four earned -- on 10 hits, including one home run allowed.

BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
The hard-throwing righty gets the honor of pitching the Fenway Park opener. In fact, this marks the first career start at Fenway for Beckett. He's also never faced the Blue Jays. Because Beckett has so frequently experienced blister problems during the Interleague month of June, his experience against American League competition is extremely limited.

Player to watch
The Toronto hitter with the most experience against Beckett is first baseman Lyle Overbay, who is just 1-for-5 with two strikeouts in his career versus the left-hander. Overbay is hitting .375 (9-for-24) through six games with the Jays.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• FAN 590 AM

Up next
• Wednesday: Blue Jays (Gustavo Chacin, 1-0, 4.05 ERA) at Red Sox (David Wells, 15-7, 4.45 ERA in 2005), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Blue Jays (Ted Lilly, 0-0, 11.57 ERA) at Red Sox (Matt Clement, 1-0, 5.14 ERA), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 1-1, 4.20 ERA) at White Sox (Javier Vazquez, 0-0, 2.57 ERA), 8:35 p.m. ET

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.