The Red Sox will go for a two-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays when the teams meet Wednesday night at Boston’s Fenway Park.
Boston passed the first test on Tuesday in a 4-2 win against the Blue Jays and ace left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu in the series opener. The Red Sox scored four runs in the fourth inning against Ryu.
This series represents the first meeting this season between the rivals in the American League East, and the Red Sox are the surprise early leaders in the division. In all, the two teams will play each other 19 times this season.
The Blue Jays, seen as an emerging team, have scuffled with injuries in the early going. They are without two of their better hitters in George Springer (quadriceps) and Teoscar Hernandez (COVID-19 protocols).
Springer has yet to play make his Blue Jays debut after being signed as a free agent but is expected to return soon.
“They have a great team,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before the game Tuesday. “They made it to the playoffs last year. They’re not at full strength — no Teoscar, no George. I do believe George is going to be a force in that lineup having that dynamic leadoff hitter — well, I’m not sure how they’re going to use him — but just having George in that lineup is going to make a difference. (Marcus) Semien is a good player. The other kids did an outstanding job last year throughout the season.
“It took them awhile, but it feels like that young talent is finally all together. They spent some money, they actually tried hard to get some other guys, it just didn’t happen, but as an organization they’re in a good spot.”
The Toronto runs on Tuesday came from solo home runs against Red Sox left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez by Bo Bichette and Randal Grichuk.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who has been Toronto’s best hitter, was held to a walk in going 0-for-3. He’s hitting .368 on the season.
The Blue Jays lost 2-0 Sunday as they dropped three of four to the Kansas City Royals. Toronto has lost three in a row overall.
“We all know that they can do better; they’re just not doing it right now,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of his club. “Like I always say, hitting is contagious, and right now, when you don’t hit, everybody feels the pressure. For sure — these last couple of games — that’s what it looks like.”
Montoyo said it is difficult to make lineup changes with so many hitters having difficulties.
“The guys in the bottom of the lineup are struggling too,” Montoyo said. “So if you’re going to bring guys up that are struggling, there’s not anybody really hot right now. It’s (the) whole lineup struggling. Of course, Vladdy is doing well. Bo and Grichuk have done well, but the rest of the guys are struggling.”
The Red Sox will start right-hander Garrett Richards (0-1, 6.00 ERA) on Wednesday, and the Blue Jays will start right-hander Trent Thornton (0-0, 2.35 ERA).
Richards allowed six earned runs in his first start ofthe season, but in his past two starts he has allowed four total runs (two earned) on seven hits in 10 innings. In eight career games (six starts) against Toronto, he is 2-4 with a 5.20 ERA.
Thornton will make his first start of the season after making five relief appearances. He is 1-2 with an 8.22 ERA in four career games (three starts) against the Red Sox.
–Field Level Media