The Toronto Blue Jays play host to their division rivals, Boston Red Sox, for a three game mid-week series.
The Toronto Blue Jays (2-10) are coming off a 3-1 series loss at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles, and have dropped 8 of their last 9. Boston (8-5) is coming off a 3-1 series win over the Tampa Bay Rays, and will be paying a visit to the Rogers Centre for the first time this season.
History: The Blue Jays and the Red Sox have played each other a total of 597 times, with the advantage in the all-time series going to Boston at 325-275. Toronto has a 133-166 record at home the versus the Red Sox since 1977. Toronto won the 2016 season series 10-9, but did drop 5 of 9 at the Rogers Centre.
Pitching: 2017 Totals
TOR – (Starters) 4.06 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 1.6 HR/9, 8.6 K/9, .246/.301/.466
BOS – (Starters) 5.18 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 1.9 HR/9, 10.5 K/9, .274/.331/.509
TOR – (Relievers) 5.22 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 1.36 HR/9, 8.8 K/9, .262/.339/.436
BOS – (Relievers) 1.84 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 0.20 HR/9, 8.8 K/9, .183/.276/.268
Offenses: 2017 Totals
Toronto – R/G 2.83 – .212/.280/.312 – 25 XBH – 8.7 K/G
Boston – R/G 4.38 – .287/.353/.401 – 37 XBH – 5.9 K/G
First Pitch – 7:07 EST
B. Johnson LHP (2017: 0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. M. Stroman RHP (2017: 1-1, 1.76 ERA)
Due to their regular starter, Eduardo Rodriguez, leaving temporarily on maternity leave, Boston will call up Brian Johnson to make the start in his place. Johnson is a former 1st round draft pick from 2013, and has only seen 4.1 IP at the MLB level at this time.
So far this season he has made 2 starts in AAA while compiling a (0-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.219 WHIP, 12.7 K/9) record over 10.1 IP.
The former Florida Gator appears to be the typical crafty left-hander who sports a high-80’s, low-90’s fastball in combination with a curve ball, slider and change-up.
The Blue Jays will had the ball to Marcus Stroman to make his third start of the season. Thus far, Stroman (1-1, 1.76 ERA, 1.043 WHIP, 5.3 K/9) has followed up his WBC performance by putting together two excellent starts to begin 2017.
Over his career the Duke graduate has not fared overly well against the Red Sox with a (4-1, 4.40 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 7.4 K/9) record. His overall numbers are severely slanted due to a disastrous three starts in 2016 where he compiled a (0-1, 9.92 ERA, 2.143 WHIP, 7.2 K/9) record.
Stroman has a (13-6, 3.43 ERA, 1.096 WHIP, 6.9 K/9) at home in the Rogers Centre, and is coming off a complete game 2 ER performance against the Brewers, at home, last week.
First Pitch – 7:07 EST
R. Porcello RHP (2017: 1-1, 7.56 ERA) vs. F. Liriano LHP (2017: 0-1, 9.00 ERA)
Game two of the series will see last years Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello, take the mound for Boston. Porcello is off to a rough start in 2017 with a (1-1, 7.56 ERA, 1.740 WHIP, 9.7 K/9) record. He has been hampered by the long-ball this season, surrendering five home runs over 16.2 IP, for a HR/9 ratio of 2.7.
The former Detroit Tiger has been touched up by the Blue Jays over his career to the tune of a (7-7, 5.03 ERA, 1.251 WHIP, 5.9 K/9) record. This also includes a (3-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 9.3 K/9) record against Toronto last season where run support greatly helped his W-L totals.
Porcello has a (3-5, 6.23 ERA, 1.385 WHIP, 6.6 K/9) record over his career at the Rogers Centre, including (2-0, 4.58 ERA, 1.169 WHIP, 8.7 K/9) totals last season.
Toronto’s Francisco Liriano will take the ball to face-off against Boston and Porcello on Wednesday. Liriano is coming off an important bounce back start, and will be looking to improve on his (1-1, 9.00 ERA, 2.000 WHIP, 14.1 K/9) record to start the season.
Over his career he has a (2-3, 5.97 ERA, 1.642 WHIP, 9.4 K/9) record against the Red Sox over 6 starts. The lefty has not faced Boston since the 2014 season.
Since coming to Toronto at the deadline last season, Liriano, has a (2-2, 3.00 ERA, 1.083 WHIP, 10.75 K/9) record when pitching at the Rogers Centre.
First Pitch – 12:37 EST
C. Sale LHP (2017: 1-1, 1.25 ERA) vs. M. Estrada RHP (2017: 0-1, 3.50 ERA)
The Thursday matinee game will see Boston’s ace, Chris Sale, take the ball for his fourth start of the season. After three starts (1-1, 1.25 ERA, 0.738 WHIP, 12.0 K/9) Sale is dominating with his new club, which can be seen with his 29 K’s over 21.2 IP.
Over his career the lefty has a (4-2, 2.25 ERA, 0.955 WHIP, 7.6 K/9) record while going head-to-head with the Blue Jays over 8 appearances, and 5 starts. This includes a (2-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.813 WHIP, 7.3 K/9) record in 2016.
Sale has dominated in his appearances at the Rogers Centre with a (2-1, 1.80 ERA, 0.920 WHIP, 7.6 K/9) record. This includes a strong 8 IP, ER performance last season.
The Blue Jays will counter Sale, with right-hander, Marco Estrada. Estrada (0-1, 3.50 ERA, 1.278 WHIP, 8.5 K/9) over 3 starts this season has pitched very well to this point.
Over his career he has a (4-4, 3.91 ERA, 1.407 WHIP, 6.7 K/9) record versus the Red Sox, including a (2-2, 3.18 ERA, 1.271 WHIP, 7.0 K/9) record for 2016.
Estrada has enjoyed his time pitching at the Rogers Centre with a career record of (9-12, 3.13 ERA, 1.104 WHIP, 7.4 K/9), which includes his dominant 7 IP, 4H, 0 ER performance over the Orioles in his last start.
*All Pitcher vs Batter Stats provided by ESPN
**Featured Image Credit: genevieve.ducret – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.