Red Sox Series Preview: Blue Jays Bring More Than Baseball To Fenway

When the Blue Jays and Red Sox kick off a three-game set at Fenway Park tonight, there will be more focus and discussion on the two manger’s of the competing clubs than on baseball itself.  John Farrell’s name is again surfacing as a potential replacement for Bobby Valentine, despite Bobby still holding down the job.  Only in Boston do we discuss potential replacements before the current one is gone.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that every source he has, confirms that Farrell will indeed be the Red Sox number one target to fill what will likely be a vacant manager’s position.  But while there will be discussions around compensation and whether or not the Sox should part ways with top prospects for their former pitching coach or if the Jays will fire Farrell and make life easy on Boston, there is still a series to be played out.  With both clubs all but eliminated from the postseason, they are still playing for the dignity of not finishing in last place in the AL East.

With that, let’s look at the series that lies ahead for the Red Sox:

Toronto: 61-75 (27-41 on the road)

Boston: 63-75 (32-38 at home)

This series has the potential to be a high scoring affair, given that both clubs have plenty of pop in their lineups but more so because of the struggling pitching both clubs will send to the mound.

 

Pitching matchups (courtesy of the Globe):

Friday: RHP Henderson Alvarez (7-12, 5.04) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (10-7, 5.03), 7:10 p.m

Doubront has struggled for Boston since starting the season as a pleasant surprise to the rotation.  Over his last six starts the lefty is 0-3 with a 7.85 ERA. In three starts against Toronto this season, Doubront is 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA.

Alvarez has also struggled for his club after such a promising start to the season.  Over his last six starts he is 0-5 with a 7.67 ERA.  He has beaten Boston in both of his starts against the Sox this year, one on June 25 and again on July 22.

 

Saturday: LHP Ricky Romero (8-13, 5.85) vs. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-4, 6.15), 7:10 p.m

Dice-K is likely winding down his time in a Sox uniform and given all the injuries to the rotation, he should see a few more starts this month.  Another injury riddled year has limited Dice-K from making more starts and in the ones he has made, inconsistency has been the story.  His last outing he went just 3.2 innings and gave up 6 earned runs on 7 hits to Oakland.  Prior to that start he 7.0 innings of shutout ball against the Royals while only allowing 7 hits.  He took a no decision in his only start against the Jays back in June.

Romero, the designated “ace” to be of the staff has also been the horse for the Jays this year making what will be his 29th start of the season.  While he has not lived up to the “ace” label, Romero, like Dice-K has been inconsistent over his last ten games, going winless while being saddled with nine losses.  His ERA over that span is 7.13, while giving up 65 hits over 52.2 innings of work. His latest blunder was against Tampa Bay where he gave up 7 runs on 8 hits while not recording an out in the second inning. He’s 1-1 in two starts against the Red Sox this year.

 

Sunday: LHP J.A. Happ (3-2, 4.46) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (11-5, 4.47), 1:35 p.m

Buchholz will look to continue his solid pitching.  Aside from his start against the Angels back on August 22, Buchholz has been solid over his last ten starts, going 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA.  His only start against Toronto this year was back on June 1 when the righy went 8.0 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 6 hits on his way to earning the win.

Happ is one of those young pitchers that the Jays have high hopes for in the future.  Acquired from the Houston Astros as part of the 10-player deal, Happ has made six starts for Toronto, going 3-2 with a 4.46 ERA.  He appeared against the Red Sox on July 21, going 0.2 innings of relief without giving up a hit.

 

From an offensive standpoint, Cody Ross continues to prove why the Red Sox need to sign him to an extension by hitting .341 with 11 RBI over his last eleven games.

The Blue Jays boast one of the most powerful hitters in the game with the upstart Edwin Encarnacion who has 37 home runs and 95 RBI on the season, both career highs.

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