Red Sox at Blue Jays, July 19-21

Monday, July 19 2021 @ 05:00 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

Last days in exile.

The first place Red Sox of Boston will provide the opposition for what should be the last major league games to be played in Buffalo for the foreseeable future.

The Jays and Red Sox have met three times this season, with Boston winning 5 of the 9 games. The story so far:

The Jays ventured into Fenway and split a pair of games with the Red Sox back in April. Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run HR off Hyun-Jin Ryu in the opener, which was all the support Eduardo Rodriguez would require as the Sox won 4-2. The Jays bounced back to defeat Garrett Richards 6-3 the next night behind seven different pitchers (it was a Bullpen Day).

The Sox came down to Dunedin for three games in May, and Ryu pitched his best game of the season, seven innings of four-hitter as the Jays beat Rodriguez 8-0. But the Sox kicked Ross Stripling around for five first inning runs the next day en route to a 7-3 win, with Verdugo, Martinez, and Hernandez all going deep. In the finale, the Red Sox hung one of the year's more deflating losses on the Jays. Given a 2-0 lead, Steven Matz instantly surrendered a five spot to put the Jays down 5-2. But he held the line there, and Jays crawled back into the game, tied it up, and eventually took a 7-5 lead into the ninth inning. But Rafael Dolis gave up a pair of hits, an RBI groundout and a killer two-run homer from J.D. Martinez. And the rest of the bullpen said - "You thought that was bad? Bring on Tampa Bay and we'll show you what's possible!" (The Jays would lose four in a row to the Rays - they blew leads in each of the first three games, and in the finale they first rallied from 5-0 to tie the game, and then they rallied from 7-5 in extra innings to tie the game... and lost in the end anyway. Their sixth loss in a row. Low point of the season, we've all agreed.)

Finally, last month the Jays went into Fenway to play four games. In the opener, they took a 5-1 lead behind Ross Stripling, but Montoyo had a bit of an early hook and it turned out Chatwood hadn't quite recovered his early season form. Mayza stopped the bleeding at 5-4, but Carl Edwards gave up a game-tying homer and Montoyo turned to Rafael Dolis. In the ninth inning, of a tie game, against Boston. So that ended quickly. But Steven Matz beat Boston on Saturday, and the Jays pummelled Martin Perez and Ryan Weber on Sunday. The final was 18-4, and it was glorious, giddy fun. On Monday, Alek Manoah and Nathan Eovaldi hooked up in a dandy pitcher's duel. Vladdy's ninth inning HR off Barnes tied the game at 1-1, but yet again Montoyo turned to Dolis. In the ninth inning, of a tie game, against Boston. It was you, Charlie.

I assume we're all pretty familiar with 2021 Red Sox by now. They score enough runs, fourth best offense in the AL this year. The attack is led by three guys having really good seasons - J.D.Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers - and supported by everyone else chipping in. The one spot in the lineup that is decidedly non-threatening is the first baseman, Bobby Dalbec, who is normally pretty bad. But the Jays need to get the same scouting report everybody else has, because Dalbec turns into a Whole Different Person when he faces the Blue Jays (.333/.394/.800, with 3 of his 10 HRs.)  The starting pitching has been good enough, and Nathan Eovaldi has been better than that - the team's real strength on the mound comes from a very deep and very good bullpen.

These days the Sox seem to be trying to decide if Jarren Duran is ready to take over in centre field. Duran's gone 1-6 in his two games so far, after hitting .270/.365/.561 with 15 HRs in 46 games at AAA Worcester. They're high on him for a reason, I guess. This would free Enrique Hernandez to fill in all over the diamond, which would be useful. The Red Sox have a lousy bench and they've been blessed with remarkably good health so far this season. Which is the sort of thing that can change at any moment.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I do not expect to see Rafael Dolis anywhere near the Buffalo mound in the ninth inning, if the game is close, against this Boston outfit. Just a feeling I have. But it appears that Dolis has come to occupy a somewhat different spot in the bullpen pecking order than he did in the Olden Days, of 2020 and earlier this year. Did you notice that he was the first guy called on yesterday, with the Jays ahead by ten runs. There's more! Dolis has lost 9 games in his brief major league career. The only AL team to beat him is Boston, but they've done so 3 times. Dolis has given up just 8 HRs in his brief major league career. And guess what? The only AL team to to take him deep would be the Red Sox, who have done so - 3 times. Along with losses and HRs, Dolis has also given up more Hits and Runs against Boston than any other team in the two leagues. The Red Sox even have 3 of the 5 bases stolen while he's been on the mound in his brief major league career.


Mon July 19 - Pivetta (7-4, 4.30) vs Stripling (3-5, 4.34)
Tue July 20 - Richards (5-5, 4.91) vs Hatch (---,-.--)
Wed July 21 - Houck (0-2, 3.38) vs Ray (8-4, 2.93)