Red Sox vs. Blue Jays Preview: Oh, Canada!
The Red Sox look to rebound in Toronto from an ugly series in Oakland.
After getting off to a hot start by sweeping the Angels, the Boston Red Sox (17-4) surprisingly dropped two out of three in Oakland against the A’s (9-10 entering the series).
But the Red Sox have little time to lick their wounds. They head north of the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays (13-8), who are looking for revenge against the AL East after getting slapped around by the Yankees in three out of four in New York.
The Red Sox will have their hands full with the Blue Jays who rank second in runs and seventh in home runs in the majors. The Jays’ offense has been lead by veteran second baseman Yangervis Solarte who is batting .250 with five home runs, and power-hitting third baseman Josh Donaldson who is still searching for consistency in 2018.
Speaking of offense, the Red Sox took the weekend off from hitting. After being embarrassingly no-hit on Saturday by Sean Manaea, the Red Sox managed one run the following game against Daniel Mengden who had a 4.50 ERA heading into the game. An ugly showing in Oakland must be forgotten and Alex Cora must rally his troops to refocus against Toronto. The worst thing the Red Sox could do is allow the failures against the A’s to linger against the Jays.
However, the Red Sox may be getting an old friend back to boost the offense. As reported, Xander Bogaerts is expected to make a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday and Wednesday. The 25-year-old shortstop will be activated from the 10-day disabled list on Friday as long as things go smoothly.
This could be exactly the shot in the arm the Red Sox need to help them rekindle their previously red-hot bats.
Tuesday, April 24 at 7:07 PM Rick Porcello (4-0, 1.40 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (3-1, 4.50 ERA)
Wednesday, April 25 at 7:07 PM Eduardo Rodriguez (2-0, 3.45 ERA) vs. Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.86 ERA)
Thursday, April 26 at 7:07 PM Chris Sale (1-1, 1.86 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (2-1, 5.32 ERA)
- Porcello is tied for the Major League lead in wins with four.
- Porcello’s strikeout-to-walk ratio (23.00) and walks per nine innings (0.35) are both second-best in MLB to Jose Berrios.
- Happ is averaging a career best 12.7 K’s per nine innings.
- The Red Sox moved Sale up in the rotation a day to give Drew Pomeranz an extra days’ rest after his first start off the disabled list.
- Sale struck out a season-high 10 batters on Saturday.
- The long ball has been an issue for Estrada. He’s allowed six home runs in four starts, after allowing 31 in 33 last year.
- Toronto was kind to the Red Sox in 2017. The Red Sox were 8-1 at the Rogers Centre last season.
Three Keys To Victory
- Limit big run blows: Red Sox starter David Price went seven innings strong only surrendering one run. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off in the eighth when Khris Davis hit a three-run bomb to slam the door shut on any hope of seeing Boston win the game. Even though the Red Sox were without Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez, they still had chances to win that game every inning. Despite never plating the go-ahead run, the game was still up for grabs for either team, as it was tied in the eighth. Price’s mistake pitch ended that chance, and the Red Sox must learn from it against the Blue Jays who are a power-driven offense.
- Offense: A pretty shocking display took place in Oakland when the Red Sox scored one run in 18 innings following their merciless sweep of the Angels. The offense was bound to slow down, but the bats must heat up against a dangerous offensive opponent.
- Bullpen: Much like when the Red Sox play the Yankees or Rays, the Blue Jays always spark late-inning drama against the Sox’ bullpen. The Red Sox bullpen needs to pitch strongly in Toronto, and must avoid their annual late-inning meltdown against the Blue Jays. Even star closer Craig Kimbrel has had his share of hiccups at the Rogers Centre.
Next: Red Sox trade left-handed pitcher Roenis Elias to Seattle Mariners
Check back with BoSox Injection prior to the start of every Red Sox series this season for our preview!