The Red Sox claimed the first game of this series, and their 10th win in a row, 6-4 last night after yet another huge game from Mookie Betts. The star outfielder hit a fourth inning grand slam off starter JA Happ to blow the game wide open. Boston got a solid outing from David Price who went 6.2 innings, surrendering three runs on two homers, but otherwise kept the Blue Jays quiet. Sandy Leon had an RBI, and Betts picked up his fifth with a single in the seventh inning. The Blue Jays tried to narrow the gap but they couldn't get close as Craig Kimbrel came in to slam the door in the ninth.
Can Toronto haul Boston's roll? Or will the Red Sox ride the wave into the weekend and beyond? Let's have a look at tonight's pitching matchup.
Ryan Borucki (LHP) Vs. Rick Porcello (RHP)
The Blue Jays are sending rookie lefty Ryan Borucki to the mound tonight to make his fourth start in MLB. He has had a baptism of fire so far, facing the Astros and Yankees already, making him remarkably prepared to face the Red Sox. Despite pitching against two of the best lineups in baseball, Borucki is sitting on a 2.25 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP, and hasn't allowed more than two runs in a start or even a homer yet. Of course, that may well change after tonight.
Opposing the rookie is the 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. Through his 19 starts this year Porcello is posting a 3.58 ERA, with a solid 1.17 WHIP and a career-best 8.6 K/9. What is better, is that his strikeout improvements haven't come with an uptick in walks which often happens. Porcello started 2018 in strong form, but has settled out after a rough May. He's allowed more than three runs in just two of his last eight starts, but only has one really brilliant performance in that span, seven shutout innings against the Twins. He comes into today after a seven-inning, three-run, win against the Kansas City Royals.
|Blue Jays Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Gurriel Jr., SS||4||.248||.262|
|Red Sox Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Bradley Jr., CF||6||.208||.299|
Who's hot, and who's not
The Blue Jays have had a good two weeks out of Justin Smoak, who has mashed five homers and has a .300 batting average in that time span, but they haven't seen a lot else from the rest of the lineup. Lourdes Gurriel Jr has a .310 average but it is pretty empty, with just one homer. Kendrys Morales has three homers in the same time span but is hitting .276. They also have a whole host of regulars hitting under .200 in that time span, including Randal Grichuk, Curtis Granderson, and Kevin Pillar.
Unsurprisingly, the Red Sox lineup has been electric of late. Mookie Betts is hitting .411 in the last two weeks with three homers, Andrew Benintendi is hitting .340 with one homer, and JD Martinez is at .333 with three bombs. They are also getting terrific production from Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Nunez, while Jackie Bradley Jr is also hitting well. The only player really struggling at the moment is Mitch Moreland, but Steve Pearce has come in and hit .458 in his limited at-bats.
This is a battle between an established pitcher with a red hot lineup and a rookie with a cold one. It shouldn't really be close. I expect Boston to pepper the Rogers Centre outfield with hits and rack up the runs today. I'll take Boston by four as they continue their impressive run of form.