The Red Sox head north of the border for their first meeting of the season with the Toronto Blue Jays. Last season the Sox were 10-8 versus the Jays. This season Toronto is sitting in second place in the AL East. The Red Sox (10-13) are coming off a series loss to the Yankees. The Blue Jays just finished a series at home with the Baltimore Orioles, losing 11-4.
When the Sox come to Rogers Center the Jays will be in the middle of a home stand and looking to gain momentum after their series against the O’s. The Sox will need to start hitting consistently. One game the bats are hot and the next they aren’t. Fielding was a little bit of a problem for the Sox in the beginning of the season. This will be an area of concern on Toronto’s AstroTurf. Will younger players like Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. be able to adjust to the different playing field? The Sox pitchers will need them to to be successful.
Game one of the series, Friday at 7:07, features Jake Peavy taking the mound against Mark Buehrle. Peavy is currently in possession of 3.33 ERA and 0-0 record. Nothing to write home about but also nothing to keep anyone up at night. In his last start, against Baltimore, he gave up ten hits and struck out five and only lasted 5.2 innings. The Sox bullpen was tested Friday night when Felix Doubront was pulled after only 2.2 innings. Peavy has yet to go more than six innings this season. Buehrle is currently rocking a 4-0 record and nearly spotless 0.64 ERA. Now those are some exciting stats! The Red Sox offense will have their work cut out for them if they want to hand this left-hander his first loss.
Game two, 1:07 on Saturday, is Clay Buchholz squaring off against Brandon Morrow. Clay (0-2 with shocking 7.71 ERA) is coming off of a stunning lost to the Orioles in which he was yanked after only 2.1 innings because he had given up seven hits and racked up six earned runs. Clay needs a big game to bounce back and show that he isn’t hurt or washed up. Morrow’s 1-1 record and 5.03 ERA isn’t impenetrable. The Sox offense can hopefully give Clay plenty of run support, though Morrow only gave up three hits in five innings in his last start.
In game three, on Sunday at 1:07, Jon Lester ends the series versus R.A. Dickey. Lester currently sports a great 2.67 ERA and not-so-great 2-3 record. (The value of the win-loss stat for pitchers is debatable at best.) His last start was against the Yankees and did not go well. After giving up 11 hits in only 4.2 innings, Lester also needs to have a great bounce back game against the Jays. Dickey’s 5.90 ERA should give the Sox bats some hope, though the veteran right-hander and knuckleballer has only a 3.66 ERA in home games.
If the Sox can sweep the Jays, a tall order to be sure, they could vault into second place, or first place depending on how the Yankees’ series against the Angels goes. Losing the series would keep the Sox in the AL East basement, but with the calendar still reading April it’s not a terribly worrisome thought.