Toronto Blue Jays look to rebound in Boston

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Apr 11, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1, Monday:  Aaron Sanchez vs. Joe Kelly

Aaron Sanchez enters play with a 1-2 record and an ERA sitting at 5.14.  Despite not allowing more than 3 earned runs in any of his outings, the numbers could be much worse than they are, especially considering the 7 walks he issued in his last start.  This is a statement start for the young Sanchez, and a deep appearance would help to quiet the calls for his demotion or move to the bullpen.

Sanchez must learn to trust his stuff and avoid nibbling around the edges, which balloons his pitch count early.  He has the raw talent to beat MLB hitters with strikes, especially given the movement on his fastball.  This won’t be easy in Boston, however, with veteran bats like David Ortiz waiting to wrap a hanger around the short foul pole in right.

Joe Kelly will counter for the Red Sox, and has been their top starter to date.  Kelly did allow 5 earned runs over 5.0 innings pitched in his last outing, but managed 7 strikeouts compared to just 1 walk against the Tampa Bay Rays.  In 2015, he’s seen his velocity climb to 95-97 MPH, which is a big reason that he leans on his fastball or two-seamer on nearly 75% of his pitches.  Kelly also features a slider and curveball that is used sparingly.

Next: Game 2: Hutchison looks to stay hot