The Blue Jays currently sit at 24-25, six games behind the Red Sox in the A.L. East
The Toronto Blue Jays are hunting down .500 (again) after successful stops in Minnesota and New York, but things won’t get any easier when they return home to the Rogers Centre today to face the division leading Boston Red Sox.
Boston sits atop Major League Baseball with 276 runs scored (Toronto sits 15th with 197). The Red Sox boast a combined team batting average of .296 and on-base percentage of .360, making good on their pre-season hype.
Before diving in to the individual pitching matchups, let’s take a look at the key contributors across the diamond.
Across the Diamond: Boston Red Sox
Jackie Bradley Jr. has been absolutely unstoppable for the Red Sox, and just last night ended a hitting streak that spanned 29 games. This run brought his average to .341 on the season with eight home runs and 34 RBIs.
Fellow outfielder Mookie Betts is red hot, himself, batting .275 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs. Xander Bogaerts currently owns a 19-game hitting streak of his own and a .347 average, but left last night’s game against the Colorado Rockies with a thumb injury.
David Ortiz remains the star of the show, however, showing no signs of slowing down in his final season. The slugger homered again last night, his 12th of the year. Ortiz is now hitting .337 with a league-leading 45 RBIs.
There are very few resting spots in the lineup with Dustin Pedroia, Travis Shaw, and Hanley Ramirez all hovering around the .300 mark. No, it’s not an ideal weekend to be a Toronto Blue Jays’ pitcher.
Game 1: Friday, May 27th – 7:07 ET
Aaron Sanchez (4-1, 3.20 ERA) vs.
Joe Kelly (2-0, 5.28 ERA)
Game one of the series is a battle of the fireballers as Aaron Sanchez faces the powerful, but often without aim, Joe Kelly.
To his credit, though, Kelly took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his last start, his first since coming off the disabled list (shoulder). He was rocked by the Blue Jays his first time out, though, allowing seven runs over just three innings.
Sanchez had this start pushed back by a day to flip with J.A. Happ, aligning the lefty with the New York bats. His last time out against the Twins, Sanchez pitched seven strong innings once again, allowing just two runs on eight hits.
Game 2: Saturday, May 28th – 1:07 ET
Marcus Stroman (5-1, 3.89 ERA) vs.
Rick Porcello (7-2, 3.47 ERA)
After a rough debut season in which Porcello flirted with a 5.00 ERA over 172 innings, the 27-year-old has performed much better in 2016 with a 7-2 record and 3.47 ERA. His strikeout totals have improved notably, and the Blue Jays are familiar with this after the right-hander struck out eight Toronto batters back in early April.
The Stro Show returns to Toronto looking for his sixth win of the season. After allowing 13 hits two starts ago to the Tampa Bay Rays, Stroman was much stronger his last time out and continues to be one of the best ground ball pitchers in baseball.
Game 3: Sunday, May 29th – 1:07 ET
R.A. Dickey (2-6, 4.60) vs.
David Price (7-1, 5.34 ERA)
The battle of recent Toronto Blue Jays blockbuster pitching additions.
David Price has caused some worry after inking a seven-year, $217 million contract with the Red Sox in the offseason. His velocity has been down and results poor, but coming off three strong starts with a FIP well below his ERA, Price appears poised to re-establish himself as one of the game’s most consistent left-handers.
Dickey, on the other hand, continues to tease. After three strong starts of his own to open the month of May, Dickey has allowed four earned runs in both of his last two starts. He’ll need to be especially careful with the home run ball this time out.