It’s first place against last place in the AL East as the Toronto Blue Jays, who are likely going to be sellers ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, visit the Boston Red Sox. Boston is looking for a third baseman and could ask the Jays about Josh Donaldson, but it’s not likely that Toronto trades him and even if so not to a division rival. Boston will be an MLB series betting favorite (first three games only).
Toronto at Boston MLB Series Prediction, Pick and Betting Odds
The #RedSox today returned LHP Eduardo Rodriguez from his injury rehab assignment with Pawtucket and activated him from the 10-day DL. pic.twitter.com/qiKrVSoD4x
— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 17, 2017
When: Monday, 7 PM; Tuesday, 7:10; Wednesday: 7:10; Thursday: 1:35
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
TV: SNET (Toronto) / NESN (Boston)
Radio: SN590 (Toronto) / WEEI 93.7 (Boston)
MLB Series Odds: Boston -150 / Blue Jays +130
First Trip To Fenway For Jays
Toronto has only beaten Boston once in six games at Rogers Centre this year, but the Blue Jays took six of 10 at Fenway last season. The Red Sox could be running on fumes to start the series, having played a 16-inning game against the Yankees on Saturday and a day-night doubleheader Sunday.
Toronto lost two of three in Detroit coming out of the All-Star break to fall seven games under .500. In Sunday’s 6-5 loss, Toronto wasted leads of 3-0 and 5-4. The Jays remain without second baseman Devon Travis.
He played catch on the field and took ground balls without issue on the field prior to Saturday’s game against the Tigers. While there is still no clear timetable for his return, he is at least making tangible strides now. Travis has been sidelined since June 6 due to a bone bruise in his right knee.
Who Else is Off the Disabled List?
The Red Sox activated INF/OF Brock Holt from the 60-day disabled list on Sunday. The utility player has missed most of the season with the ailment. Holt figures to see some starts at third base, at least until the Red Sox go out and trade for help at the hot corner. The Sox cut Pablo Sandoval and thus have a need at the hot corner. Most expect them to trade for the White Sox’s Todd Frazier.
Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia has not committed an error in his last 111 games (last: 8/19/16 at DET), the longest streak ever by a Red Sox 2B and the longest by any second baseman since Darwin Barney (141 in 2012).
Probable Pitching Matchups
The Red Sox lead the AL and rank 3rd in the majors in ERA (3.79). Boston last finished a season as the AL’s ERA leader in 2007 (3.87) and 2000 (4.23). Red Sox starting pitchers rank 3rd in the AL in ERA (4.17). Sox starters lead the AL in innings (542.0) and strikeouts.
It’s lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.54) for Boston on Monday. He’s making his 1st start since 6/1 after being placed on the 10-day DL on June 2. Rodriguez allowed one run over 6.1 innings in his last rehab start in the minors.
From the start of the 2017 season through May 31, Rodriguez ranked among AL leaders in ERA (8th, 2.77), opponent AVG (6th, .209), opponent OPS (12th, .652), SO/9.0 IP ratio (9th, 9.60), and WHIP (10th, 1.12). He tossed one inning of scoreless relief on April 19 at Toronto. He is 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA (11 ER/23.2 IP) in 5 career games (4 starts) vs. Toronto.
The Jays counter with Marcus Stroman. Stroman (9-5, 3.28) put his season’s worst start behind him with three solid outings in a row. He allowed one run in seven innings his last time out against the Astros. Against Boston in April, he gave up six runs in a loss.
Who Will Kick Off Tuesday for Both Teams?
Tuesday, it’s not year clear who Boston will pitch. It won’t be Doug Fister, though. Fister was needed for 2 2/3 innings during Saturday’s marathon loss to the Yankees. The Red Sox will call up either Brian Johnson or Hector Velazquez to start.
It’s Jays lefty J.A. Happ (3-6, 3.54). Happ had posted five straight quality starts before struggling against the Astros, who knocked in six runs (two earned) off him in four innings. Still, since June 11, he has just a 2.27 ERA. Happ has a 2.89 ERA against Boston since 2012.
How’s Wednesday Looking Like?
Wednesday, it’s Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.94). Sanchez pitched six innings, allowing one unearned run on seven hits and two walks while striking out four Tigers in Friday’s road win. He’s now got seven starts under his belt, owning a 3.94 ERA, 1.59 WHIP and 22:15 K:BB through 32 innings.
Sanchez has made three trips to the DL due to finger issues. Boston lefty Drew Pomeranz (9-4, 3.75) is coming off a no-decision vs. the Yanks in which he allowed four runs in six innings, but struck out seven. It was the first time he’s allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last six starts, lowering his ERA from 4.48 to 3.75.
What About the Final Game on Thursday?
In Thursday’s finale, it’s Sox ace and Cy Young betting favorite Chris Sale (11-4, 2.59). Sale allowed just three hits and two walks while tying a season high with 13 strikeouts through 7.2 scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Yankees on Saturday. Sale has 13 double-digit strikeout games this season, which is six away from tying the franchise’s single-season record held by Pedro Martinez.
The Jays are hoping that lefty Francisco Liriano (5-5, 6.04) can start Thursday. He exited his start Saturday against the Tigers after two innings with a tightness on the right side of his neck. The Jays could turn to Joe Biagini if Liriano can’t go.
Latest MLB Series Trends
- Blue Jays are 6-3 ATS in the last 9 games
- Blue Jays are 2-4 SU in the last 6 games
- The total went OVER in 6 of Toronto’s last 8 games
- Red Sox are 1-5 ATS in the last 6 games
- Red Sox are 2-4 SU in the last 6 games
- The total went UNDER in 4 of Boston’s last 6 games
Final MLB Series Expert Prediction
It’s too bad for bettors that Sale isn’t going in one of the first three games as they are the ones that count on the series betting line. Still, Boston is a terrific team at home and the Jays are well below .500 on the road. Boston wins three of four in the series.
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