There’s no doubt that since the trade deadline, the Blue Jays are the team to beat in the American League East Division. This is thanks to the addition of players like David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, but the team’s chemistry has also been a factor to their success. However, whenever they face the Red Sox something doesn’t go their way. Today was the last Red Sox/Blue Jays game of the season and thanks to another excellent pitching perfomance from Rich Hill and two-run single from Travis Shaw, Boston won 4-3 to earn a series win.
The Red Sox have also been a decent team since last month, but a team with this pitching staff is not supposed to beat the best squad of the American League. After today’s win, the Red Sox will end the season with a winning record against Toronto (10-9). Even though it’s not with large margin, it is still a surprise that Boston has a winning record against a team like that. To put things into perspective, the Blue Jays are now a team with three players with 30+ HRs and 100+ RBI (Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista) and somehow the Red Sox were better whenever they faced each other. Was it pure luck or Boston was Toronto’s Kryptonite?
Both teams played against each other for the first time on the season on April 27th for a three-game series. Boston won the first game on walk-off fashion with a single from Mookie Betts, but they were humiliated the next day when Toronto scored 11 runs. However, the Red Sox ended up winning the next game against R.A. Dickey and went away with the first series win. This was the Boston first win against Dickey in the season. Even though the Red Sox got off with a nice start against the Blue Jays, Toronto won the next two series; the first one winning the first two games (the Red Sox won the final game of the series, and Dickey was Toronto’s starting pitcher) and the second one on a sweep.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays met again on June 29th for a four-game series at Rogers Centre. This series was crucial for both teams since Toronto was in fourth place but just one game out of first , and the Red Sox were looking for a winning streak that could put them back in contention. Clay Buchholz and Eduardo Rodriguez won the first two games of the series, while Dickey and Marco Estrada couldn’t perform against the Red Sox. Dickey’s loss was his third of the season against Boston. The Blue Jays won the next game thanks to an explosive hitting perfomance that allowed them to score 8 runs in the first three innings, but the Red Sox returned them the favor in the next game and scored 12. At the time, the odds of Boston winning a four-game series against the Blue Jays were extremely low but somehow they ended up shocking Red Sox Nation and giving them false hopes.
The last two series took place in this month and were also won by the Red Sox but now it wasn’t such a surprise since as I mentioned before, Boston has been a decent team for some weeks. The Red Sox scored 22 runs in the first series, while only allowing 13 to Toronto; and won the second series thanks to a four-run 9th inning yesterday and Hill’s outstanding perfomace.
Call to the Pen
And now to more specific numbers… Even though Boston won the overall series, the Blue Jays scored 111 runs while the Red Sox only 99. Toronto was also a better hitting team with 180 hits while Boston only had 173. This shouldn’t be a surprise since the Blue Jays are considered one of the best offensive teams, while the Red Sox lack of offense has been one of the team’s most important problems since May. Dickey lost four times, while no Red Sox pitcher lost more than twice. And on a final note, the Red Sox were lucky enough to not face Price since he arrived to Toronto. I’m sure that if the 2012 Cy Young pitched against the Red Sox at least once, the record would be different.
Even though the numbers show that the Blue Jays were a better team than the Red Sox, it’s unfair to say that Boston outwon Toronto thanks to luck. We all know that baseball is a game of clutch and timing and that’s all that matters. You can score 10 runs on the first inning, but if your closer gives up three grand slams you’re doomed. I’m not trying to discredit the Blue Jays, but at least the Red Sox can say that they had a winning record against the probable division winners.