It all comes down to Beantown: Blue Jays vs. Red Sox series preview
With 159 games down, the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2016 season comes down to three games in Boston.
Toronto had every opportunity to create distance between themselves and the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Wild Card race, but a pair of bullpen letdowns have landed the Blue Jays and O’s in a tie just 1.5 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers. Further muddying the waters is the fact that Detroit has four games remaining compared to Toronto and Baltimore’s three.
Boston has comfortably locked up the American League East, but that does not mean they’ll be rolling out a depth squad to rest their starters. Not yet, at least.
The Red Sox still have a shot to take down the Texas Rangers for the number one seed in the A.L. — Boston has 92 wins compared to Texas’ 94 — so an early win from Toronto would help to ensure a softer challenge on the final day of the season.
Red Sox to Watch:
Mookie Betts – Betts is coming off a rest day but is hot as ever. He’s now hitting .320 on the season with 31 home runs, 112 RBI, and thanks to the man hitting behind him, 119 runs scored.
David Ortiz – The victory lap to end all victory laps keeps gaining steam, though he is coming off a 0-for-10 series against the New York Yankees. Regardless, Ortiz’s home run (37) and RBI (124) numbers rest just shy of Edwin Encarnacion‘s.
Hanley Ramirez – What a turnaround Ramirez has enjoyed since landing in Boston with Pablo Sandoval. He also enters 0 for his last 10, but make no mistake, Ramirez is a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat with 29 home runs, 110 RBI, and a red-hot September in his back pocket.
Xander Bogaerts – The 23-year-old shortstop has burst onto the power scene with 21 home runs and 89 RBI this season.
Dustin Pedroia – Pedroia, now a grizzled veteran at 33, also received the day off in Boston’s finale against the Yankees. Hitting .319 on the season, Pedroia enters play 7-for-18 in his last four games played.
Sandy Leon – Leon’s play in September has been a rare weakness for the Red Sox. He still holds a .312 average on the season, but his bat has gone cold lately as Leon has racked up the strikeouts.
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Scheduled Starting Pitchers: (Subject to change based on results)
Friday, September 30th – 7:10 p.m. ET
Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.53 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.11 ERA)
Saturday, October 1st – 7:10 p.m. ET
J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.20 ERA) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (3-7, 4.68 ERA)
Sunday, October 2nd – 3:05 p.m. ET
Aaron Sanchez (14-2, 3.06 ERA) vs. David Price (17-9, 4.04 ERA)