AL East Battle: Boston Red Sox vs Toronto Blue Jays

AL East Battle: Boston Red Sox vs Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays look to keep pace in the AL East when they host the Boston Red Sox Saturday afternoon. The Blue Jays took Friday’s series opener 5-3 in 12 innings. The Boston Red Sox are -125 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday. 

The Red Sox dropped Friday’s game in Toronto despite getting a 15-strikeout performance from ace Chris Sale. Boston has now lost three of their last four after losing a series to the Yankees earlier this week. Also, after a scorching-hot start to the season, the Red Sox are one game under .500 since April 21. However, they remain tied with the Yankees atop the AL East.

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, sit 5.5 games back of both Boston and New York, as they try to stay within striking distance of the division leaders. Despite Friday’s win, Toronto is just 5-6 in the month of May, as they’ve struggled to find consistency as of late.

Ready to Go?

After being scratched earlier this week and then being diagnosed with carpal tunnel, David Price will take the mound for the Red Sox on Saturday. After throwing a bullpen session on Thursday, Price doesn’t appear worried about his health. However, perhaps he’s worried about his 2-4 record and 5.11 ERA through his first even starts.

The lefty had a great start to the season, posting a 2.25 ERA in his first four starts. But the wheels have fallen off for price lately. Over his last three starts, he’s allowed 19 runs (16 earned) in 17 innings of work. The A’s, Rays, and Rangers have each knocked him around, so even a Toronto lineup that’s missing a few players to injury has a chance to do some damage against him.

The good news is that Price has great numbers against most of Toronto’s hitters. The lone exception is Troy Tulowitzki, who’s on the DL. Key Blue Jays like Josh Donaldson, Curtis Granderson, Kendrys Morales, and Kevin Pillar have all struggled against Price, although Granderson has four home runs against the lefty despite a .196 average.

Chance for Redemption

Taking the mound for the Blue Jays on Saturday will be veteran Marco Estrada. He gave up five runs on eight hits over five innings when he faced the Red Sox last month, so he’ll be looking for some redemption this time around. On the season, Estrada owns a 5.21 ERA, but he tossed six shutout innings in his last start, so perhaps he’ll be able to turn things around.

Of course, facing Boston’s lineup is much different from facing Tampa’s lineup. The good news is that Estrada has great numbers against Boston’s young core. However, veterans Hanley Ramirez and J.D. Martinez have done some damage against Estrada, so they’ll be players to watch on Saturday.

The Day After

The day after their walk-off win, the Blue Jays should have plenty of positive momentum. However, while they have the best bullpen in the American League, that bullpen pitched seven innings Friday night, while Boston’s bullpen only threw two-plus innings after Sale pitched nine innings. With Sale and Estrada starting, this game will come down to the bullpens. The Red Sox have the better-rested bullpen, swinging things their way. Bet the Boston Red Sox -125 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

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