Red Sox: Series with Toronto Blue Jays is massively important
Red Sox are preparing for their biggest series of the season thus far
After dropping an agonizing series finale against the Los Angeles Angels at the hands of the terrific Shohei Ohtani, the gap at the top of the American League East narrows slightly. After taking the first two games of this weekend’s series, the Boston Red Sox remain on top of the division by 1.5 games. However, Toronto has played three fewer games than Boston, meaning that could all change this week as the Sox face the Blue Jays in Dunedin.
The Sox go into the Blue Jays series with a 6-4 record over their last 10 games. There have been a few ups and downs, but the important part is where they are in terms of the standings. Below Toronto are New York and Tampa Bay who are both just two games behind Boston. Although we’re only in mid-May, this division is shaping up to be one of the tightest in baseball. Streaks are going to be incredibly important here, as just one or two games could be the difference when it’s all said and done.
And that’s why any divisional series is going to play so much into it all. With the form the Blue Jays are in now, this series is the most important one so far for the Red Sox. They can’t afford to slip up at any time.
The three-game series will run from Tuesday through Thursday with stand-in ace Eduardo Rodriguez, Garrett Richards, and Nick Pivetta on the mound. Looking at those three you can be confident to take the series on paper from a starters point of view. As we all know, the Sox bullpen has had its problems and something’s going to have to change there. But if you can get an outing from your ace, and a few decent innings from the other guys then you’re rolling.
Pivetta has been a fantastic back of the rotation guy so far with a 3.16 ERA, and although Richards has had his problems with his command and allowing base-runners, he can produce at least semi-effective starts on a regular basis.
Tuesday’s starter for Toronto hasn’t been announced yet but game two and three sees Ross Stripling and Steven Matz, respectively. Neither of them has caused opposing hitters many problems so far this year.
What the Red Sox will need to be wary of is the Blue Jays lineup. They put 10 runs on Philadelphia Sunday night and look as energized as any other offense in the league right now. Vladamir Guerrero Jr is finding his rhythm, currently hitting .319 with 11 homers, and there’s not really a weak link in the rest of their lineup which doesn’t help opposing pitchers.
Boston’s momentum almost found its way back to them, but Sunday’s loss that saw Nathan Eovaldi give up four runs over five innings pitched sees them needing to get back into the win column to prevent a quick slide. It will be a tough test against a strong Toronto lineup, but the Sox have JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts both hitting well at .342 and .344 respectively, with Rafael Devers leading the majors with 34 RBI on the season.
This should be an interesting series to keep tabs on, as both Boston and Toronto look to establish themselves as contenders in the American League after the rival Yankees were the only ones considered among that company from this division prior to the season. It’ll be an important series for both teams who are 1-1 against each other so far this season. This series could play an integral part on the outlook of the division when we look back on it at the end of the season.