Boston Red Sox vs Toronto Blue Jays series preview

Apr 5, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) pitches during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) pitches during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Previewing the three-game set between the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.

The Boston Red Sox (8-5) visit the Toronto Blue Jays (2-10) for a three-game series at the Rogers Centre.

The Red Sox are riding a three-game win streak after taking three out of four against the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend. Andrew Benintendi must be sad to see the series is over. He went 8-for-17 (.471 AVG) with 3 doubles, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored during the series.

On the other hand, the Blue Jays have been a hot mess to start the season. They have lost 8 of their last 9 games and have just placed both Aaron Sanchez and Josh Donaldson on the 10-day disabled list.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, April 18 at 7:07 PM – Brian Johnson vs Marcus Stroman (1-1, 1.76 ERA)

Wednesday, April 19 at 7:07 PM – Rick Porcello (1-1, 7.56 ERA) vs Francisco Liriano (0-1, 9.00 ERA)

Thursday April 20 at 12:37 PM – Chris Sale (1-1, 1.25) vs Marco Estrada (1-0, 3.50 ERA)

Series Notes

  • Brian Johnson gets the ball in the series opener and also makes his first start of the season for the major league club. Over the winter I wrote about the importance of this season for him and how he needs to make an impression with the front office and the coaching staff. Hopefully he is able to capitalize against a battered Toronto team. Johnson was off to a hot start in Pawtucket allowing only 2 runs in 10.2 innings, while striking out 15.
  • Craig Kimbrel is starting to heat up. The issue with him over the past couple of seasons has been his control. He obviously has the stuff, but has a tendency to walk batters and has to fight out of jams. Kimbrel has turned it around recently. In his last 3 appearances he has had 3 clean saves (hasn’t allowed a single base runner), all while striking out 7 of the 9 batters he faced in those appearances.
  • Can the Red Sox please score some runs for Chris Sale? The poor guy has only given up 3 runs this year, while the offense has only scored 3 runs for him. I thought that Sale would easily end the year with more than 20 wins. However, if they don’t score for him, it’s going to be hard for him to get credit for the wins. He has been a lights-out pitcher in his brief tenure in Boston and I fully expect things to turn around for him in terms of run support.
  • Mitch Moreland had a rough opening series against the Pirates, but that seems like an eternity ago. Moreland has been able to turn things around at the plate. In his last 39 at bats he has 16 hits (.410 AVG) to go along with a .500 OBP and a .609 SLG. Look for him to continue to contribute in the middle of the order.
  • Rick Porcello has not been the same guy we saw last season. Obviously you can’t judge his season after only three starts. Instead, let’s see if he is able to have a good start on Wednesday and get on a little roll. The starting pitching continues to be suspect at times, and is in need of someone to step up behind Chris Sale.

Key Hitters

Boston Red Sox: Xander Boagerts

2017 Season (9 Games): .333/.368/.361, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Career vs Toronto Blue Jays (54 Games): .299/.323/.464, 6 HR, 27 RBI

More from Red Sox News

As the defending “key hitter”, Xander makes the list for the second week in a row. He continues to give the Sox consistent production out of the 6th spot in the order. He’s an important guy in the lineup in general.

Bogaerts consistently hitting well will be important once Jackie Bradley comes back because they will be able to bridge the gap to the top of the order. In the meantime, he should continue to get base hits, drive in runs, and provide protection for the middle of the order guys like Moreland and Hanley.

Also, he only has one extra-base hit so look for him to start driving the ball more.

Toronto Blue Jays: Troy Tulowitzki

2017 Season (12 Games): .250/.277/.409, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Career vs Red Sox (22 Games): .213/.315/.300, 2 HR, 8 RBI

A .250 batting average usually is not considered good, but Tulo is 2nd among the qualified Blue Jays hitters in average. He is off to a slow start along with the rest of the team.

With Donaldson on the DL, Encarnacion in Cleveland, and Jose Bautista hitting a staggering .136, Tulo is the only slugger left in the lineup. He’s had six hits in the last four games so look to him to provide some sort of offense for the Blue Jays.

Next: The Red Sox probably aren’t going to hit home runs

Check back with BoSox Injection prior to the start of every Red Sox series this season for our preview!