After a successful 4-2 road trip through Boston and Houston, the Blue Jays return home and start a 10-game home stand. They’ll kick things off with four more against their AL East rivals from Beantown.
Season Series: Toronto 2, Boston 1
RH Nate Eovaldi (1-0, 3.68 ERA) vs RH Jose Berrios (1-0, 6.35 ERA)
RH Nick Pivetta (0-3, 10.03 ERA) vs RH Kevin Gausman (1-1, 2.89 ERA)
RH Michael Wacha (1-0, 1.88 ERA) vs RH Ross Stripling (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
RH Garrett Whitlock (1-0, 0.66 ERA) vs RH Alek Manoah (3-0, 2.00 ERA)
The biggest storyline heading into the series was believed to be who is staying in Boston. But after all the posturing, only starter Tanner Houck and reliever Kutter Crawford will be placed on the reserve list. The Red Sox re-jigged their rotation a bit, starting Garret Whitlock on Saturday and pushing everyone back a day. Whitlock, who has been a reliever in the majors until now (and a good one), would be in line to start again Thursday. That could help the Jays by removing one leverage arm from the bullpen.
Each team has to be happy about at least one pitching matchup in the series. The Jays get to see Pivetta on Tuesday, and they’ve had success against him in his career, including knocking him around for a five-run inning last week at Fenway. For the Red Sox, they’ll be licking their chops about getting Ross Stripling on Wednesday. Last year in 3 starts against the BoSox, he managed to go just 9.2 innings, surrendering 16 earned runs on 17 hits and 4 long balls, good for a lofty 14.90 ERA. He made starts in Dunedin, Boston, and one in Buffalo that lasted just a third of an inning. Maybe pitching at the Dome will change his fortune.
On the flip side for the Jays, Alek Manoah was very good in two starts, totalling 11 innings and allowing just three earned runs and a .211 average. Players on the current roster are hitting just .138 off the big righty. Three of the five hits he’s surrendered to those players are from Jays-killer Alex Verdugo.
The Blue Jays haven’t kicked the habit of poor hitting with runners in scoring position yet. As noted by Mike Wilner on Twitter, they went 2/12 in that situation on Sunday and still somehow saw their average rise to .160. However, that ranks tied for 28th in the league. If they could get contributions from three players, their fortunes might change:
– George Springer: 1/13, 8K
– Bo Bichette: 2/14, 3K
– Alejandro Kirk: 0/11 (4BB)
– Raimel Tapia: 0/8, 3K
They really are just a few clutch hits away from being able to blow games wide open and provide some relief for their heavily leaned-upon leverage relievers.
For the Blue Jays, Teoscar Hernandez and Danny Jansen remain out with oblique strains. Hyun-Jin Ryu will miss his second start this week with his left forearm strain. Nate Pearson is back to throwing bullpens and live batting practice after deadline with mono.
For the Red Sox, J.D. Martinez hasn’t played since exiting Wednesday’s game against Toronto with a hip injury, though there is hope he can return to the lineup this week against the Jays. Catcher Kevin Plawecki and infielder Jonathan Arauz both tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Plawecki is vaccinated and the club is hopeful he can return for this week’s series. The latest update provided to MLB.com on Sunday indicated that Arauz was still in the protocol. No indication was given about his vaccination status, but it appears his availability is questionable at best.
After a delay in receiving their blue jerseys, the Jays wore the dark blue tops in all six games on the road trip. Let’s hope they mix it up a bit on the home stand. You can follow their uniform schedule and success in each jersey right here on the site.
Following the four-game set against Boston, it’s another three-game series against Houston over the weekend, and then right into a three-game series with the Yankees at Rogers Centre as the Blue Jays will play another 14 games before their next off day.