Red Sox seek series win vs. scuffling Jays

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The Boston Red Sox will be trying to clinch their series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday and at the same time give themselves a season-best three-game winning streak.

The Red Sox won the opener of the three-game series 5-3 on Friday, handing the Blue Jays their second straight loss. The Blue Jays’ longest losing streak this season is three games.

Right-hander Chase Anderson, who has yet to pitch this season because of an oblique strain, is expected to make his Blue Jays debut when he faces Red Sox right-hander Zack Godley (0-1, 6.14 ERA).

Anderson will be on a pitch limit and might be able to go three innings. In his one career appearance against the Red Sox, Anderson gave up two runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings.

The 32-year-old was obtained in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers in November and is 53-40 with a 3.94 ERA in 166 career outings (160 starts).

Godley will be making his third appearance (second start) for Boston. In two career appearances at Fenway Park, both in relief, he has allowed one run and six hits in 9 1/3 innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks.

He split last season between the Blue Jays and the Arizona Diamondbacks. In six relief appearances for Toronto, he had a 3.94 ERA in 16 innings. He has faced the Blue Jays three times in his career (one start) and is 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA.

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo made a lineup change for the game Friday, flipping his first two hitters in the lineup so that Cavan Biggio led off and Bo Bichette batted second.

Biggio led off the game with his third homer of the season.

“I know that Biggio’s going to get on base,” Montoyo said. “That’s just what he does. …That’s part of the idea, having a big on-base percentage guy in front of Bo. Bo’s going to swing the bat, we all know that. If Biggio gets on, Bo can bring him in and get going.”

That happened in the third inning when Biggio led off with a single and scored on Bichette’s double.

Meanwhile, Red Sox leadoff hitter Andrew Benintendi continued to struggle. After taking one of four first-inning walks allowed by Toronto starter Tanner Roark, he struck out three times.

If Benintendi’s hitting woes continue, Alex Verdugo, who had two solo homers Friday and a two-run homer Wednesday, could be moved to the top of the order.

“He’d probably be the one guy in our lineup that makes a lot of sense,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said. “When he’s swinging well, he looks like he’s very patient. It doesn’t seem to bother him whether it’s a left-hander or right-hander, so, yes, we have talked about it.”

Benintendi is batting .061/.279/.370 with one RBI in going 2-for-33.

“I mean, obviously this start is probably the worst of my career,” he said. “But I’ve gone through spurts where I’m 0-for-20-something, so it’s unfortunate that’s at the beginning of the year in a short season. So I wouldn’t say I’m putting pressure on myself, but hopefully when things start to click and I start hitting, I go on a little hot run and everything will balance back out.”

–Field Level Media

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