#916 Boston Red Soxvs.#915 Toronto Blue Jays
Written by Chris Kubala
Toronto Blue Jays (42-48 SU, 38-52 RL, 43-41-6 O/U) vs. Boston Red Sox (51-40 SU, 46-45 RL, 42-45-4 O/U)
MLB: Monday, July 17, 2017, Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts, 7:05 pm ET
Lines: Boston -125, Toronto +115; Over/Under: 9.5
A pair of AL East rivals open up a three game series in Beantown. The Toronto Blue Jays open a four game series against the division leading Boston Red Sox Monday night. Toronto finished up a three game series against the Tigers as they played the rubber game Sunday after losing 11-1 Saturday. Boston had a day-night doubleheader Sunday against the Yankees to close a four game series: the Red Sox dropped Saturday’s contest, 4-1, in 16 innings. Boston swept the last series between the teams, which was June 30-July 2 in Toronto, by a combined 29-6.
Toronto has some work to do if they plan on staying in the wild card race as they entered Sunday five games behind the Yankees for the final playoff spot. It remains to be seen if the Blue Jays choose to chase a playoff berth or to sell off and start a rebuild. In Saturday’s game, Toronto mustered only two hits, both singles. Jose Bautista scored the only Toronto run as he was knocked in on a RBI groundout by Josh Donaldson. Kendrys Morales and Troy Tulowitzki had the hits for the Blue Jays. Francisco Liriano (5-5) took the loss after giving up five runs on three hits with four walks and two strikeouts over two innings.
Marcus Stroman takes the mound for his 19th start of the season for the Blue Jays in this contest. He is 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA, a 1.264 WHIP, 29 walks and 93 strikeouts over 112.1 innings of action. Stroman picked up the victory in his last start, which came last Saturday at home against the Astros. He threw seven innings, allowing one run on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts in a 7-2 Blue Jays loss. Stroman is 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, six walks and 17 strikeouts over 19.2 innings in his last three starts. He makes his ninth career start against the Red Sox in his career: he is 4-2 with a 5.07 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP over 49.2 innings of work. Stroman is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.737 WHIP over 12.2 innings in his two career starts at Fenway Park.
Boston had a chance to get away with a 1-0 win on Saturday but let it slip away in the ninth: seven innings later, they ended up losing the game and wearing out their bullpen with a day-night doubleheader looming Sunday. The Red Sox finished with eight hits in the game but Andrew Benintendi was the only player with more than one as he had three. Mitch Moreland drove in the only Red Sox run with a sacrifice fly. Chris Sale took a no-decision despite throwing 7.2 scoreless innings, where he allowed three hits with two walks and 13 strikeouts. Craig Kimbrel blew the save in the ninth while Doug Fister (0-3), who is slated to start Tuesday, took the loss by allowed three runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout in 2.2 innings.
Eduardo Rodriguez makes the start for the Red Sox as he takes the ball for the 11th time this season and logs his 10th start. This marks his first start since June 1 as he suffered a knee injury in that outing. He is 4-2 with a 3.54 ERA, a 1.148 WHIP with 21 walks and 65 strikeouts over 61 innings of work. Rodriguez took the loss in his last start, which came at Baltimore back on June 1. He threw 5.2 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts while allowing four homers in a 7-5 Red Sox defeat. Rodriguez has a 2-1 record with a 4.58 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP, four walks and 18 strikeouts over 19.2 innings in his last three starts. He makes his seventh career appearance and sixth start against the Blue Jays: he is 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA and a 1.341 WHIP over 28.1 innings of work. Rodriguez is 7-6 with a 4.35 ERA and a 1.362 WHIP over 24 starts totaling 134.1 innings of work at Fenway Park in his career.
The Red Sox are the better team in the standings but you know that their bullpen is going to be taxed after throwing eight plus innings Saturday, in addition to having the day-night doubleheader Sunday. Rodriguez likely will be on a pitch count as this is his first big league outing in more than six weeks. Boston’s offense has been off to a slow start coming out of the All Star break. Stroman is pitching well at the moment: he leads Toronto to a win in the series opener.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.