Boston at Toronto, August 6-8

Friday, August 06 2021 @ 05:00 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

Not that it's likely to mean much of anything but the Red Sox have lost six of their last seven.

The Jays have won just 6 of 15 meetings with this tiresome Boston outfit, despite outscoring them 87-67. Boston has won by such scores as 8-7, 6-5, 2-1, 5-4. The Jays have won by such scores as 8-0, 18-4, 13-1. Well, if you have to beat them senseless... might as well beat them senseless. That's what I always say.

Two of the the four pitchers Boston will be running out against the Jays in this series have faced Toronto just once this season.  Tonight's starters, Nathan Eovaldi and Alek Manoah, hooked up in a dandy matchup, back in June. You probably recall Boston scored just one run against Manoah, but they took that 1-0 lead into ninth. Vladimir Guerrero tied the game with a homer off Matt Barnes in the top of the inning, but Rafael Dolis gave up three singles and the game in the bottom half. Tanner Houck looked very impressive, albeit in a short stint, in his one appearance against the Jays last month. But this will be Nick Pivetta's fifth start against the Blue Jays in 2021, and none of them were particularly impressive. He's gone 1-1, 7.59 and the Jays have scored at least four runs against him every time. And this will be Garrett Richards' sixth start against Toronto in 2021 (he's 2-2, 6.15). His best effort came back in May, when he pitched into the seventh allowing just two runs.

Like Manoah, Jose Berrios has only faced Boston once this season. It came back in April when he was still a Twin - he pitched into the fifth, allowed four runs, and took the L. Robbie Ray has made three starts against the Red Sox (2-1, 4.24) - two of them were Quality, and he came away with the W. In between those two outings, he lost to them when he had some trouble keeping the ball in the yard at Sahlen Field. Hyun Jin Ryu has also made three starts against the Red Sox - they beat him 4-2 back in April, but he's shut them out in both of his subsequent starts against them, once in May and once in July.

Who's been hitting against Boston? Pretty much everybody - Guerrero (.421/.507/.842 with 6 HRs) and Bichette (.377/.441/.672 with 4 HRs) have been leading the way, but Teoscar Hernandez, Randal Grichuk, and Marcus Semien have all roughed up the Red Sox as well - each has 3 HRs and has hit better than .300 against Boston. And George Springer has gone kind of medieval on them in the six games he's played. Even Reese McGuire's in on the fun, hitting .370 with his one homer of the season.

Rafael Devers has been the most dangerous Boston hitter against Toronto (.348/.388/.674) which sort of figures, although Hernandez, Martinez,and  Verdugo, have hit about as well as you'd expect them to - in other words, pretty good.  What doesn't figure is Bobby Dalbec. The Jays have been keeping this stiff in the league (.286/.362/.667 with 3 HRs.) Not for long, though.The Red Sox are preparing to hand first base over to newly acquired Kyle Schwarber, despite the fact that Schwarber's major league experience at the position consists of standing there and watching exactly three pitches at the end of a game in April 2017. There was one out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eleventh of a tie game. Schwarber, in left field, swapped positions with first baseman Anthony Rizzo. I presume this was because Rizzo has the better arm in the event there was a fly ball hit to left field. Mike Montgomery threw two strikes - and then uncorked a wild pitch to end the game. However Schwarber did play some first base in the minors - it was two games in the Cape Cod Summer League back in 2013 to be  precise.

Well, they're the Boston Red Sox. They must know what they're doing.

American League hitters have hit .290 on their Balls in Play in 2021. Not the Red Sox, who have hit .307, and not the Blue Jays who have hit .301. Here's how individual Jays hitters have fared on their Balls In Play in 2021 (figure in parentheses is their career BABiP)

Hernandez .358 (.321)
McGuire .353 (.310)
Espinal .350 (.352)
Bichette .334 (.346)
Guerrero .324 (.308)
Springer .315 (.307)
Semien .309 (.295)
Dickerson .308 (.326)
Gurriel .299 (.320)
Biggio .279 (.300)
Grichuk .276 (.293)
Kirk .267 (.313)
Jansen .200 (.224)
Teoscar is clearly living right, or he's made the appropriate sacrifices to Jobu and all the Fear has been removed from his bats.  He should tell Danny Jansen his secret.


Fri Aug 6 -Eovaldi (9-6, 3.71)  vs Manoah (3-1, 2.47)
Sat Aug 7 (1) - Pivetta (8-5, 4.57) vs Ray (9-5, 3.04)
Sat Aug 7 (2) - Houck (0-2, 2.45) vs Berrios (8-5, 3.31)
Sun Aug 8 - Richards (6-7, 5.21) vs Ryu (11-5, 3.22)