The Toronto Blue Jays pay another visit to beautiful Fenway Park for four games against the Red Sox
The Blue Jays move on to Bean Town to continue their road trip vs the defending champion Red Sox.
Toronto is 4th in the AL East and Boston is 3rd; however the Sox are closer to the first place Yankees at 9.5 games out than the Jays are to 3rd place at 25.5 games out of first and 16 out of third.
The Red Sox are 6-4 in their last 10 games (at the time of writing) and the Jays are 4-6. The Sox have some work to do if they want to repeat as World Series champions. They currently sit outside the playoff picture, 1.5 games out of the second wild card spot. Should they string together some wins, they could see October baseball again after three straight division titles.
Outlining the pitching matchups is going to take a bit of guesswork. Beyond Trent Thornton in game one, the Jays have “TBD” listed to pitch the other three games, with the Thursday matinee game featuring “TBD” vs “TBD” so bear with me if I get any of this wrong.
Monday July 15, 7:10 pm start
RHP Trent Thornton (TOR) vs RHP Rick Porcello (BOS)
Thornton: 3-6 record, 4.85 era, 4.41 FIP, 1.479 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, 9.2 K/9.
The rookie had one of his best starts last time out vs the Orioles. He pitched 6 innings, gave up 0 runs on 3 hits with no walks and 5 strikeouts.
His previous start, against the Red Sox in Toronto, wasn’t as successful. He lasted only 2.2 innings, gave up 7 runs on 11 hits with 1 walk and 1 strikeout. After that start, veteran Freddy Galvis tipped Thornton off that he may have been tipping his pitches. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts vs the Sox
Porcello: 6-7 record, 5.33 era, 4.53 FIP, 1.425 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 7.3 K/9.
Porcello is still searching for the Cy Young form he showed in 2016 when he went 22-4 with a 3.15 era. He struggled in his last start, going 5.2 innings, giving up 6 runs on 9 hits with one walk and 5 strikeouts.
The last time he faced the Jays, he lasted 6 innings, giving up 5 runs on 8 hits, walking 4 and striking out 2. Toronto’s hitters will hope his line looks like it did in either of these games.
Tuesday July 16, 7:10 pm start
Per Shi Davidi, Jays are likely to recall Jacob Waguespack for this start so I’m going with that until I hear otherwise
RHP Jacob Waguespack (probable, TOR) vs RHP Andrew Cashner (BOS)
Waguespack: 1-0 record, 5.00 era, 2.87 FIP, 1.111 WHIP, 1.0 BB/9, 11 K/9.
So far so good for rookie Waguespack in his brief (2 games to date) MLB career. The 5.00 era looks underwhelming but FIP, BB/9 and K/9 are downright impressive. His last MLB outing was against these Red Sox, lasting 5 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, with 0 walks and 4 strikeouts. His only other MLB game was back on May 27 vs Tampa Bay. He pitched 4 innings, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits, with 1 walk and 7 strikeouts. He will look to build on some decent early success.
Cashner: 9-3 record, 3.83 era, 4.25 FIP, 1.194 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 6.2 K/9.
Cashner was acquired by the Red Sox on July 13 in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles. He will be making his Red Sox debut on Tuesday, hoping to help his new team climb in to a playoff spot. His last start was against the Blue Jays, pitching 7 innings, giving up a run on three hits, with 0 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Wednesday July 17, 7:10 pm start
Sanchez: 3-13 record, 6.22 era, 5.49 FIP, 1.753 WHIP, 5.4 BB/9, 7.3 K/9.
I’m assuming that Sanchez will take his regular turn in the rotation in spite of suggestions by some that they would be better off using him out of the bullpen. In his last start on 7/12 vs NYY, he continued his recent pattern of pitching well early only to struggle in the 4th inning or later. His final line – 5 innings, 4 runs on 7 hits, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.
The Jays would rather see him duplicate his last start vs BOS. Back on 5/21 he went 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. Unfortunately for Toronto he has been trending in the wrong direction.
Rodriguez: 10-4 record, 4.43 era, 4.02 FIP, 1.322 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 9.5 K/9.
Rodriguez spun a gem in his most recent outing vs the National League leading LA Dodgers on 7/12. He pitched 7 innings, giving up 1 run on 5 hits, with 2 walks and 10 strikeouts. The southpaw struggled the last time he faced Toronto back on 5/22. He lasted 5 innings, giving up 6 runs on 6 hits with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts. Fortunately for the Bosox he has been getting better as the season progresses.
Thursday July 18, matinee series finale at 1:05 pm
Per Shi Davidi, Toronto could go with Sean Reid-Foley for this start. replacing Clayton Richard who was put on the 10 day IL. It would be his turn in the AAA rotation. I’m going to assume Chris Sale makes his next start when he turn in the rotation comes up on Thursday.
RHP Sean Reid-Foley (possible, TOR) vs LHP Chris Sale (probably, BOS)
Reid-Foley: 0-1 record, 3.55 era, 5.02 FIP, 1.342 WHIP, 4.26 BB/9, 8.53 K/9.
Reid-Foley’s last MLB outing was against the Red Sox. On 7/2 he came in to relieve Trent Thornton and pitched well. He lasted 3.1 innings without allowing a run, a hit or a walk and striking out 4. Reid-Foley has an MLB quality arm when he can command his pitches for strikes. He will look to continue his recent success in the majors.
Sale: 3-9 record, 4.27 era, 3.36 FIP, 1.101 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, 12.9 K/9.
Sale has struggled in his last three starts, giving up 5 ER in each. It is also the first time in his MLB career that he has given up as many as 5 runs in three consecutive starts. On 7/13 vs the LA Dodgers, he lasted 4.2 innings, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits, although he only walked one and struck out 7. Though the Blue Jays have had their struggles vs Sale in the past, they made the most of their opportunities on 7/3. He pitched 5.2 innings, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits, walking 2 and striking out 5. If the Sox want to go back to the postseason for the fourth straight year, they will need Sale to work out his struggles.
Prediction: 2-2 series split, with Toronto winning the first and last games, and Boston taking the middle games.
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