Boston Red Sox (17-5 SU, 12-10 RL, 12-9-1 O/U) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (14-8 SU, 13-9 RL, 10-11-1 O/U) vs.
MLB: Thursday, April 26, 2018, at 7:07 p.m. EST
The Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox will conclude a three-game series when they meet again at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Thursday night. Boston stormed out of the gates with a 17-2 record but had suddenly lost three in a row heading into Wednesday’s contest. The Blue Jays, who took Tuesday’s opener in extra innings, can close in fast if they pull off a sweep.
Three losses outside of Boston, Massachusetts
Previously 17-1 in the span of 18 outings, the Red Sox are suddenly suffering through a three-game losing streak. Their offense has been the biggest issue, so they will try to turn things around as they wrap things up against Toronto. The Red Sox averaged 7.5 runs during an eight-game winning streak but totaled four runs in the last three games and had the potential go-ahead run thrown out at the plate in the ninth inning during Tuesday’s 4-3, 10-inning setback against the Blue Jays. Most of the lineup is struggling, but the problem is particularly glaring when it comes to newcomer J.D. Martinez–who is 0-for-11 with eight strikeouts over the last three games. Left fielder Andrew Benintendi is 0-of-11 with four strikeouts during the same stretch. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts (ankle), who homered in a rehab start on Tuesday, will not be back in the majors until at least Friday.
Chris Sale (1-1, 1.86 ERA) is taking the mound for Boston on Thursday. The left-hander is just 1-1 despite having compiled an awesome 1.86 ERA, simply because his run support–other than during one start–has been shocking. Although the Red Sox feature one of the most potent offense in baseball, they simply have not been producing for Sale (aside from a 14-run outburst when the ace tossed 6.0 innings of one-run ball in a blowout of the Yankees on April 1o). The 29-year-old allowed no more than one run in at least 5.0 innings in each of his first four starts, but went only 1-0 during that stretch to show for it. Sale most recently faced Oakland last Wednesday, when he surrendered three runs on six hits and one walk in a 3-0 Boston loss. He has mowed down a whopping 41 batters in 29.0 innings of work during the 2018 campaign.
Granderson to the rescue
The Blue Jays are in somewhat of an offensive funk, as well, but they leaned on Curtis Granderson Tuesday. Granderson, 37, recorded three hits and three RBIs–including a walk-off solo home run in the 10th. Those heroics became necessary after closer Roberto Osuna allowed his first runs of the season, blowing a two-run lead in the top of the ninth.
Marco Estrada (2-1, 5.32 ERA) will oppose Sale on Thursday. Despite his 5.32 ERA and having made one less start, Estrada somehow has more wins (two) than his counterpart (one). The right-hander started out strong, allowing just four runs in 13.0 innings over his first two appearances–both of which Toronto won. He has since surrendered nine runs on 13 hits and four walks in 9.0 innings spanning a pair of starts. Estrada gave up season-highs in runs (five), hits (seven), and homers (three) in 5.0 innings against the Yankees last Friday, but the Blue Jays still prevailed 8-5.
The Boston Red Sox are:
- 17-4 in their last 21 overall
- 9-3 in their last 12 road games
- 45-18 in their last 63 games against right-handed starters
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 1-7 in their last eight home games against Boston
- 0-6 in Estrada’s last six starts against Boston
- 0-4 in their last four Thursday games
Sale has not been getting run support and he may not get a ton on Thursday with Martinez slumping and Bogaerts still out of the lineup. But he also may not need much based on his current form. Moreover, in the past three years Sale is 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA in seven starts against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox are 17-4 in their last 21 overall, 9-3 in their last 12 on the road, 4-1 in their last five against winning opponents, 21-7 in their last 28 against the American League East, 45-18 in their last 63 against right-handed starters, 14-5 in Sale’s last 19 starts on four days of rest, 5-2 in his last seven starts against the American League East, and 7-1 in their last eight on the road against the Blue Jays. Toronto is 0-4 in its last four on Thursdays, 0-6 in Estrada’s last six starts against Boston, and 1-4 in his last five home starts against Boston. Expect those trends to continue.