The Blue Jays stumble home after an 0-6 road trip to prepare for their final meeting of 2019 against the defending champion Red Sox
The Jays have had a tough schedule down the stretch, playing most games against playoff contenders. While the Red Sox are in the hunt for a spot to play in October, they find themselves on the outside looking in. The Jays have a chance to play spoiler.
The Jays are in fourth place in the AL East, having already been eliminated from either the division or wild card playoff spots. They are 1-9 in their last 10 games and currently on a seven-game losing streak (ouch!).
In my preview of the series in Atlanta, I predicted that it might take the young Jays a couple of games to get their timing back after being no-hit by Justin Verlander on September 1st. I don’t know if that had anything to do with the funk they find themselves in as a team, but it hasn’t been pretty for Toronto fans. They averaged 2.5 runs per game during the 6-game winless road trip.
The Red Sox are in third place in the AL East division, 16.5 games behind the first-place Yankees and 7 games out of the second wild-card spot. At the time of writing, the Sox are 6-4 in their last 10.
Whatever struggles (relative to their 2018 success) the Red Sox have had in 2019 isn’t about scoring enough runs. They sit third in all of MLB with 808 runs scored, behind only the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees. The Sox team era is 19th in MLB at 4.62, just ahead of the Jays at 4.72.
The Jays enjoyed an off day in Toronto while they awaited the Red Sox who played an evening game on Monday at Fenway against the Yankees. Maybe the Sox will be tired from the evening game and subsequent travel.
Tuesday, September 10, 7:07 pm EST
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (BOS) vs RHP TJ Zeuch (TOR)
Eovaldi: Record 1-0. 5.77 era. 5.49 FIP. 1.510 WHIP. 4.5 BB/9. 9.1 K/9.
29-year-old Eovaldi has had the worst season of his MLB career to date. His season era of 5.77 is a run and a half worse than his career average of 4.25. He did fare pretty well in his last start which was against the high scoring Minnesota Twins on September 5. He pitched 5 innings, giving up only 1 run on 1 hit, although he did walk 4 and struck out 3. The Jays hope they can do as well against him as they did the last time they faced him, back on April 11. He pitched 5 innings and gave up 5 runs on 6 hits, with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Zeuch: Record 0-0. 4.50 era. 2.71 FIP. 1.250 WHIP. 4.5 BB/9. 9.0 K/9
Zeuch made his MLB debut on September 3rd vs first-place Atlanta. He pitched 4 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. Not bad for his debut, which he will look to build on against Boston. Zeuch will be pitching in just his second MLB game. He has never faced the Red Sox.
Wednesday, September 11, 7:07 pm EST
Chacin: 3-10 record. 5.60 era. 5.55 FIP. 1.516 WHIP. 3.9 BB/9. 7.3 K/9.
Chacin spent the majority of the 2019 season with the Milwaukee Brewers. He struggled, as the above numbers indicate, and he was DFA’d by the Brew Crew. The Red Sox subsequently signed him to a minor league contract. He has pitched 3 innings in 2 games for them so far without giving up a run. His last appearance was September 8 vs the New York Yankees. He pitched an inning in relief without allowing a run or a hit, just one walk. Chacin has never faced the Blue Jays.
Thornton: Record 4-9. 5.23 era. 4.89 FIP. 1.504 WHIP. 3.7 BB/9. 8.5 K/9
Thornton has continued to have an up and down season. His last start came on September 5 vs the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched 4.2 innings, giving up 3 runs but only 1 earned on 4 hits. He walked 3 and struck out 4. He held the Rays scoreless through the first three innings, at some point in the future his best role might be in the bullpen. Thornton will hope for a better outing than he had the last time he faced Boston. Only July 15 he didn’t make it out of the second inning. He lasted 1.1 innings and the Sox got to him for 5 runs on 5 hits with 3 walks and no strikeouts.
Thursday, September 12, 7:07 pm EST
TBD (BOS) vs RHP Clay Buchholz (TOR)
Buchholz: Record 1-4. 5.31 era. 5.15 FIP. 1.323 WHIP. 2.3 BB/9. 4.5 K/9.
The veteran right hander has been a decent pick up for the Jays who were in need of pitching depth and veteran leadership. His last start came on September 6 vs the Tampa Bay Rays. He lasted 6 innings, giving up 4 runs but only 3 earned on 7 hits with no walks and 3 strikeouts. Buchholz will be facing his former team, the Red Sox, for the first time in his career.
Prediction: Somehow, someday, the Blue Jays will win another game.
Seriously, Blue Jays fans knew this would be a tough season and it has been. Sometimes during a rough stretch it can feel like they may never win again. We all need to believe that brighter days lie ahead for this team, this franchise.
Serious prediction about this series: Lourdes Gurriel jr has been rehabbing and reports are that he might be activated for this series. While I don’t expect him to be at full strength after a long lay off, his return could help spark the offense. I think the Jays will snap their losing streak sometime during this season, taking one game out of three.
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