Toronto Blue Jays (87-72) vs. Boston Red Sox (92-67)
MLB: Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 7:10pm EST
Line: Toronto -110/Boston +100
The Toronto Blue Jays will take on the Boston Red Sox in a must-win game as the rivals play the second game of their final series of the regular season Saturday from Fenway Park. The Blue Jays will hand the ball to 33-year old right hander J.A. Happ, and the Red Sox will turn to 23-year old left hander Eduardo Rodriguez.
Happ Looks to Beat Boston for Third Time of Season
J.A. Happ will get the nod as he makes his 32nd start of the season, looking to improve his record to 21-4. Happ was very sharp in his previous start, holding the Yankees to only one run over 7.1 innings, but didn’t get much run support and finished with the no decision. The veteran right hander is having a better season than anyone could have expected, sporting a dominant 20-4 record with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 188.2 innings of work. Happ contained the Red Sox offense in his two starts against them this season, allowing only three runs in 13 innings, and now sits at 5-3 with a solid 3.74 ERA in his career against Boston. David Ortiz is 3 got 16 against Happ, while Mookei Betts is 2 for 14, and Dustin Pedroia is 6 for 26 with two homers.
Watch for Edwin Encarnacion in this one, as he has crushed Red Sox pitching this season, driving in 17 runs with seven homers in 61 at bats. The 33-year old DH has driven in nine runs over his last ten games, and is now hitting .266 with 42 home runs and an AL leading 127 RBI’s. The Blue Jays deep lineup is now averaging 4.72 runs per game, good for eighth in the Majors, and are hitting .248 as a team. The Toronto pitching has been outstanding, featuring a 3.79 team ERA, ranking them sixth overall.
Eduardo Rodriguez will make his 20th start of the season, looking to pick up where he left off in his previous start. Rodriguez was outstanding, tossing 5.1 innings of one run ball to the Rays, and tallied a dazzling 13 strikeouts, finishing with the no decision. The young left hander has pitched well in four of his five starts this month and now sits at 3-7 with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in 102 innings pitched. He has faced Toronto twice this season and notched the Quality Start in his latest outing, and was hit hard the first time he faced them and has allowed a total of eight runs (seven earned) in 11.2 innings pitched against them this year. Rodriguez really struggled against the Blue Jays last year as well, serving up ten runs in 10.2 innings. Edwin Encarnacion is 3 over 11 with a homer against Rodriguez, while Josh Donaldson is 1 for 10, and Jose Bautista is 3 for 11 with a home run.
Hanley Ramirez has been of the Red Sox hottest hitters in the second half and he really took it to the Blue Jays this season, hitting .290 with 15 RBI’s in 62 at bats. The career .295 hitter had a monster month of September where he collected 26 RBI’s, and is now hitting .288 with 29 home run and 110 RBI’s on the season. The powerhouse Red Sox offense is now averaging a Major League leading 5.47 runs per game, and have a dazzling .283 team batting average. The Boston pitching has been tremendous down the stretch, now sporting a 4.02 team ERA, positioning them ninth in all of baseball.
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 4-1 in their last 5 games in Boston.
- 7-2 in their last 9 games against a left handed starter.
- 16-3 in Happ’s last 19 starts.
The Boston Red Sox are:
- 1-7 in Rodriguez’s last 8 starts.
- 1-5 in Rodriguez’s last 6 home starts against a team with a winning record.
I am going with the Blue Jay sin this one. Happ has beaten the Red Sox in both of his starts against them this season, holding them to only three runs in 13 innings, and he continues to pitch well, posting a solid 3.00 ERA in the month of September. Also, Rodriguez has had a tough time against Toronto this season, losing both starts, allowing eight runs in 11.2 innings against them. This is a must win for the Blue Jays and I think they deliver with a win.