Sometimes life gets in the way. I’m tardy on this series preview. Nevertheless, let’s press on.
This is a classic matchup of two teams going in opposite directions. The Jays badly need to win this series. They’re dead last in the AL East, six games behind a Red Sox team that just keeps finding not only ways to win but beat up on teams in the process. The Sox have scored 40 more runs than their opponents so far this season, first in the majors.
Boston needs to win to prove that they’re for real as they start moving through AL East opponents for the second time. A series win will also give the Sox momentum as they head to Texas against the first place Rangers and Yu Darvish. Here’s the rundown.
Game 1 – In Progress
Jon Lester (4-0, 2.27 ERA) vs. Brandon Morrow (0-2, 5.27 ERA)
Lester hurled seven scoreless innings in early April against the Rays and hasn’t stopped since. He’s ranked third overall in the majors. Boston’s offense continues to breath fire. Morrow has struggled in 5 games. As Joshua Menezes at Jay’s Journal pointed out in his article published today, the Jays have been horrible so far against lefties.
Prediction: The trend will continue and Lester will notch his fifth win.
Update: Lester is down 1-0 but Morrow has already thrown a ton of pitches, 58 in just two innings of work.
Game 2 – May 1, 7:07 pm, Rogers Center
Clay Buchholz (5-0, 1.19 ERA) vs. Mark Buehrle (1-1, 6.25 ERA)
Buchholz has simply been sparkling this season. The righty has struck out more than a batter per inning while allowing just one home run. Mark Beurhle would like to forget his April. In three of his five outings he’s lasted only 5 1/3 innings or fewer. He suffered his first loss Thursday against the Yankees, giving up five earned runs, three of them jacks, on seven hits and no walks with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
Prediction: Buehrle, a tough pro, will bounce back and pitch surprisingly well but Buchholz will prove to be too tough. Sox win.
Game 3 – May 2, 7:07, Rogers Center
Ryan Dempster (1-2, 3.30 ERA) vs. TBD
Dempster has a team leading 49 strike outs and has deserved better than his 1-2 record would indicate. The 35-year-old righty has struck out at least seven batters in each of his first five starts with the Red Sox. Fun fact: In Dempster’s 16-year career, he has never pitched in the Rogers Centre. The Jays pitching rotation is up in the air, Josh Johnson (0-1, 6.86 ERA) or J.A. Happ (2-1, 3.86 ERA) would be the likely candidates but Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has yet to make the call.
Prediction: The Jays act as if in disarray and the lack of pitching lockdown for game three indicates more indecision. Sox win and sweep the series.
Call me an eternal optimist. Now watch my predictions jinx this.