Jul 5, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey (41) pitches during the first inning in game two against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays

The Red Sox, fresh off a home-field sweep of the KC Royals, head to the AstroTurf confines of Rogers Centre for a four-game series versus the Blue Jays.

In game one, John Lackey (10-6, 3.79 ERA) is up against Drew Hutchison (6-8, 4.16). The win-loss records and ERAs of these pitchers favor the Sox, but the last time Boston faced Hutchison they managed only six hits and one run. The offense better have learned from their previous mistakes to win this one.

Jake Peavy (1-8, 4.59 ERA) goes opposite J.A. Happ (7-5, 4.91 ERA) in the next game of the series. How can two pitchers with such similar ERAs have such different win-loss records? A general flaw in the pitcher win-loss count for one, and maybe a pinch of luck. Toronto’s lefty has a WHIP of 1.47.

Clay Buchholz (5-5, 5.46 ERA) pitches against R.A. Dickey (7-10, 3.95 ERA) on Wednesday. Toronto’s knuckleballer has three complete games this season. Only Xander Bogaerts had more than one hit versus Dickey in his previous start against Boston this year.

Jon Lester (10-7, 2.50 ERA) will more than likely be the one to face Marcus Stroman (5-2, 3.58 ERA) for the final game of the series. In his first season in the majors, Stroman has held his opponents to a .249 batting average and racked up 52 strike outs in 60 innings.

We (BSI) asked the guys over at FanSided’s Jays Journal (JJ) a few questions about the second half of the season:

BSI: What will it take for the Blue Jays to regain the lead in the AL East?

JJ: More than anything, it will take health and good luck for the Blue Jays to get back on top of the AL East. This team, which was an offensive juggernaut earlier in the season, has struggled to score runs lately with 1/3 of their starting lineup (Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, Adam Lind) on the DL. However, every other team in this division has deficiencies and even the team in front of them, the Orioles, has serious questions when it comes to starting pitching. I expect the Blue Jays to stay in the race until the end, if only out of default. – Michael Wray

BSI: Who is your ideal trade target?

JJ: Chase Headley is high on the Blue Jays list right now, but I really like the idea of picking up Martin Prado or Ben Zobrist, a super-utility guy that the Jays can spread around and can provide instant support where it is needed most. An acquisition of either of those players would also be more fruitful to the team after the return of their injured stars, creating less of a roadblock while allowing those needing it to get rest. – Kyle Franzoni

BSI: Anyone you would have liked to see make the All-Star team?

JJ: The three Blue Jays selected to the All-Star Game were all deserving and quite frankly, were the only Blue Jays I would have flagged for the game. I personally would have liked to see Mark Buehrle get into the game somehow, and Encarnacion to be healthy enough to play, but beggers can’t be choosers. – Kyle Franzoni

JJ: It would have been nice to see Melky Cabrera named to the game but other than a scorching hot start in April, his play likely didn’t merit a selection. Other than that, I’m happy with the Blue Jays’ All-Star selections and glad Mark Buehrle was recognized.
- Michael Wray

 

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