Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
When and Where: Tuesday, Sept. 11, Fenway Park, Boston, Mass., 7:10 p.m. EDT.
Chris Sale is set to make his return as the Boston Red sox look to reduce their magic number for clinching the American League East further Tuesday night when they begin a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Borucki looks to get back to .500 for Blue Jays
Rookie Ryan Borucki (3-4, 4.39 ERA) gets the call for the season opener, looking to avoid losing back-to-back starts for the first time since being promoted to the majors in June.
The left-hander was the victim of poor run support Tuesday against Tampa Bay, limiting the Rays to two runs and three hits in six innings of a 4-0 defeat. Lack of offense has been a problem at times for Borucki, who has been backed with one or no runs in seven of his 13 starts.
The 24-year-old has struggled on the road, going 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA in seven starts. One of those tough outings came at Fenway Park on July 13, escaping without a loss after yielding seven runs — four of them earned — and eight hits in three-plus innings before Toronto rallied for a 13-7 victory.
He fared better in his more recent start versus Boston, getting the win despite allowing four runs and nine hits in five innings of an 8-5 Blue Jays victory. The lefty has yet to retire Mookie Betts, who has gone 5 for 5 with three triples in their matchups.
Cora to be cautious with Sale down the stretch
Sale (12-4, 1.97 ERA) was put on the disabled list Aug. 18 with inflammation in his throwing shoulder, essentially scuttling his AL Cy Young Award hopes as Corey Kluber, Blake Snell and Luis Severino have separated themselves from the pack.
Not that Sale will be going deep into this game to make up that ground. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said his left-hander will throw two innings or “40 pitches max” when they announced Friday that Sale would return for this game.
“Two the first time, hopefully three the second time, then keep going,” said Cora. “And then the last one, whenever it is, like a full-go, six or seven innings and 100 pitches.”
Sale is expected to give way to Nathan Eovaldi (5-7, 4.20 ERA) after those two innings or 40 pitches, with Cora hoping the right-hander will be more efficient than in his last outing. The right-hander recorded 3 1-3 shutout innings Sept. 3 at Atlanta, but walked four and threw 86 pitches before being lifted.
Sale went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts versus Toronto this year, giving up three home runs and six runs overall in 15 innings. Eovaldi has yet to face the Blue Jays this year.
The Red Sox are:
- 9-1 in their last 10 home games vs. left-handed starters.
- 39-13 in their last 52 games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- 45-18 in their last 63 games vs. AL East teams.
- The over is 10-1 in their last 11 during game 1 of a series.
- The over is 5-1 in their last six games following an off day.
- The over is 4-0 in their last four games vs. left-handed starters.
The Blue Jays are:
- 6-25 in their last 31 games vs. left-handed starters.
- 4-10 in their last 14 Tuesday games.
- 1-7 in their last eight road games vs. the Red Sox.
- The over is 6-1 in their last seven games vs. left-handed starters.
- The over is 6-0 in Borucki’s last six road starts.
- The over is 8-2 in their last 10 road games vs. the Red Sox.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While the money line feels artificially high considering Sale is only throwing two innings maximum, the bottom line is the Red Sox have more than enough offensive firepower to overcome any hiccups he and Eovaldi may have as Boston looks to move another step closer to the division title.
Prediction: Pick: Red Sox -300
Full-Game Total Pick
With Borucki’s struggles on the road coupled with the fact Sale is only pitching two innings, the over is a confident play here, more so after it already moved down one-half run since its open at nine.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 8.5 runs
Full-Game Prop Bet
This pick requires a little bit of faith in having the expectation the Blue Jays will score most, if not all, of their runs after Sale departs. They have scored five or more runs in seven of their last 12 games, and getting 2.5 runs against what will be a bullpen day for the Red Sox should be enough to cover at a decent return of -115.
Prediction: Pick: Blue Jays +2.5 adjusted run line (-115)
First Five Innings Side Pick
If one believes the Red Sox are going to win overall with the money line so high, why take an even worse offer at -370 for the first five innings when there is a better, albeit slightly, return for giving the one-half run at -210? With the Blue Jays starting a rookie in Borucki, the Red Sox should have enough between Sale and Eovaldi to get the job done.
Prediction: Pick: Red Sox -0.5 runs (-210)
First Five Innings Total Bet
This is putting confidence in Boston’s offense with the hope of a little help the Blue Jays nick a run or two off Eovaldi after Sale leaves. Opponents are hitting .301 versus Borucki his first time through the lineup, and with Betts coming off a series in which he went 7 for 11 against Houston, the Red Sox offense should carry the day.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 5 runs (-115)
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
Again, this has everything to do with both Betts and Borucki. The Jays rookie sports a 7.82 ERA in the first inning over his 13 starts, and the Red Sox have gotten to him in the opening frame of both his previous matchups. That makes this pick definitely worth the flyer.
Prediction: Pick: YES to 1st-inning run (-110)