Well, the Blue Jays finally got one back last night, ending their four game skid and closing out the month of April with a 9-7 win over the visiting Boston Red Sox.
The game looked like it was going to get away from the Blue Jays, after Steve Delabar and Aaron Loup combined to allow 3 runs to the Red Sox in the seventh inning, turning a 6-4 lead to a 7-6 deficit. However, team savior Edwin Encarnacion turned it around in the bottom half of the inning, using his second home run of the game to put the Blue Jays on top for good.
With any hope at all, that blast put an official end to the team’s April woes and allows the Blue Jays to start on a new foot in May. With Toronto still looking to dig themselves out of a 8.5 game hole in the division, having first place Boston in town is a good place to start a roll.
Here are tonight’s Game Two line-ups.
Toronto Blue Jays Line-ups:
— Blue Jays-Official(@BlueJays) May 1, 2013
Boston Red Sox Line-up:
5/1 at TOR: Ellsbury CF, Gomes LF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Napoli 1B, Nava RF, Middlebrooks 3B, Drew SS, Ross C, Buchholz SP.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) May 1, 2013
The Pitching Match-up:
The Blue Jays will send Mark Buehrle to the hill tonight, sporting a 1-1 record with a 6.35 ERA and 6.0 K/9 ratio through 5 April starts. Buehrle did not appear in the first series with Boston, but the Blue Jays are hoping that the results will be better than his career mark of 6-8 with a 4.64 ERA against the Red Sox. In fact, Toronto is hoping that the Buehrle May-magic will kick in. The lefty has made May his favorite month of the year over the course of his career, posting a 28-16 record and a 3.23 ERA during the season’s second month.
He’ll be countered by Clay Buchholz, who has been nearly untouchable in 2013. Buchholz comes into tonight’s match-up as one of baseball’s three 5-game winners in April (Matt Moore and Yu Darvish being the other two) and only Jake Westbrook and Moore have lower ERAs than the 1.19 mark Buchholz sports. Like Buehrle, Buchholz missed the first series between the two squads, but unlike Buehrle, he has not had much trouble against tonight’s opponent. The Boston righty owns a career record of 8-4 with a 2.60 ERA and 7.0 K/9 ratio over the course of 15 appearances (14 starts) against the Blue Jays.
Bats to Watch:
For the Blue Jays, no bat bears watching more than that of Edwin Encarnacion. Over the course of his last seven contests, EE has put up a .346 batting average, 7 home runs, 12 RBI, and a 1.568 OPS, while striking out just twice. While the Blue Jays wait for their other bats to wake up, it looks like Encarnacion will carry the load.
On the Boston side, they are seemingly getting timely hitting from all parts of their line-up. However, the return of David Ortiz has certainly been a bolster to an already dangerous squad. Big Papi has appeared in 9 games since his return and has been on fire, hitting a robust .500 with 6 doubles, 3 home runs, 15 RBI, and a 1.429 OPS. The Blue Jays will do well to not let Ortiz beat them, as he nearly did last night.
Go Blue Jays!