The Boston Red Sox open up a three-game series against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays (26-48) on Friday. The Red Sox (41-35) will have their ace Chris Sale on the mound against Blue Jays starter Trent Thornton.
Sale’s 3-7 record this season doesn’t consider his 130 strikeouts, 3.49 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. Sale was able to earn the win against the Baltimore Orioles in his previous start last Saturday. The left-handed veteran lasted six innings, striking out 10 batters and allowing two earned runs.
On the other side, Thornton holds a 2-5 record with 80 strikeouts, 4.20 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. His last outing ended in a 12-0 shutout victory against the Houston Astros last Saturday. Thornton managed to pitch 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits, three walks, and striking out seven.
Different Roads Ahead
The way the American League East has shaken out so far puts the Red Sox in third and the Blue Jays in fourth, but 13.5 games behind Boston. The Red Sox sit 2.5 games behind the second-place Tampa Bay Rays, but what Boston wants most is to catch the rival New York Yankees, who are seven games ahead.
Boston has performed much better on the road this season but could improve its home record against a Toronto team that is 14-23 on the road. The Red Sox are the hotter team, coming into the series with a 7-3 record over their last 10 games, while the Blue Jays are just 4-6 over their last 10 games.
After sweeping the Orioles, the Red Sox went on the road against the Minnesota Twins and won the series 2-1. Boston played a four-game series against Toronto towards the end of May when they took three of four games.
It’s no secret that this is a rebuilding year for Toronto. There’s a little less pressure on them now, perhaps, since the Raptors won the NBA Finals and brought the first NBA championship to Canada.
The Blue Jays managed to salvage a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels after the Angels took the first three games. It took 10 innings to settle things on Thursday before Toronto came out on top 7-5.
The Red Sox are a team built for the playoffs and can get hot at any point. It’s playoffs or bust for Boston in any of the professional sports, but especially with the Red Sox.
Batters To Watch
The acquisition of J.D. Martinez last season helped lead the Red Sox to a World Series championship. Martinez has kept up that same pace this season with 16 homers, 41 RBI, and a .291 batting average. Rafael Devers is living up to his potential, as he leads the Red Sox with a .307 batting average, .360 on-base percentage, and a .503 slugging percentage.
The Blue Jays’ power has come from Randal Grichuk and Justin Smoak. Grichuk leads the team with 13 homers, while Smoak is right behind him with 12 homers. Smoak remains on the 10-day IL with a quadriceps injury.
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