The Boston Red Sox are locked into a tight race with the Tampa Bay Rays at the top of the American League East standings. But the Toronto Blue Jays are still hoping that there is enough time for them to turn things around and make up their 9.5-game deficit behind Boston. On Monday, the Blue Jays will hope that an unproven pitcher can overcome the formidable Boston lineup en route to a much-needed win.
Hatch Making Blue Jays Debut
Thomas Hatch is going to make his first start for the Toronto Blue Jays in their Monday matchup with the Boston Red Sox. Hatch was called up from the team’s Triple-A affiliate approximately two weeks ago but had not been used prior to this decision to start him against the first-place Sox. If Hatch is going to pick up a win in his first start, he is going to need help from more than just Vlad Guerrero, Jr.
Guerrero is top-three in Major League Baseball this season in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. And the Blue Jays come into this game with a better run differential than the Red Sox, outscoring opponents by 86 runs this year compared to 68 for Boston. But Guerrero needs help from the rest of the Toronto lineup in order to climb the standings quickly enough to challenge for a playoff spot.
Red Sox Riding High
The Boston Red Sox have won five of their last six games, with all of those games coming against division opponents. Boston won two straight against the Blue Jays in their last series before taking three of four against the New York Yankees over the weekend. Now, with a one-game lead over Tampa in the AL East standings, Boston will look to take advantage of a pitcher making the transition to big-league baseball.
Nick Pivetta is poised to start Monday night’s game for the Red Sox. He enters this matchup with an 8-4 record but has been susceptible to giving up runs with an ERA of 4.37. Pivetta has given up 15 home runs this season, making him vulnerable to the long ball against a Blue Jays team that has proven more than capable of hitting home runs.
Offensively, the Red Sox have been relying on late offense to beat their opponents in recent games. The Sox won one game in their weekend series with the Yankees in extra innings and scored five runs in the eighth inning to beat the Yankees later that weekend as well.
The Pick: Red Sox to Win
While the Red Sox aren’t trotting an ace out to the mound for this game in Nick Pivetta, they still have a pitching edge against the Blue Jays and the unproven Hatch. Combine that starting pitching advantage with the fact that the Boston bullpen has been outperforming opposing bullpens of late, and there appears to be a clear advantage for Boston in this contest. Take the Red Sox to win the game, as their pitching and bats have been more reliable.
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