AL East Showdown: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays MLB Handicapping Preview

The Toronto Blue Jays host the Boston Red Sox in the final game of a shortened two-game series after tallying an extra-innings victory last night at the Rogers Centre

Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays are after a short two-game series sweep over the Boston Red Sox

Boston has had four chances this season to reach the .500 mark and has lost all four of those games.  The Red Sox fell 7-6 to the Blue Jays in 10 innings on Tuesday night despite receiving two home runs from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.  “A loss is a loss,” Gonzalez commented.  “There is no consolation from losing.”  This is the longest the club has gone without reaching .500 since 1996, when it took until game No. 128.  Boston is 6-3 on the road since April 20, but is 13th in the American League with a .224 team average away from Fenway Park.  The club is 9-14 in night games this season, but 148-114 under the lights the past three years.

Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey is 2-4 with a 7.16 ERA in six starts this season and is coming off one of his worst starts of his career.  The right-hander allowed eight runs and 10 hits over four innings of work at home to the Angels, while only managing to strike out a single batter.  In three road outings this year, Lackey has compiled a 1-2 record and 5.09 ERA.  He will be making his 16th career start against the Blue Jays, going 4-5 with a 4.58 ERA, including an even 3-3 mark and 3.82 ERA in 10 appearances at the Rogers Centre.

Toronto picked up its fourth walk-off win of the season and raised its record in extra-innings games to 4-1 with the series-opening victory.  “I thought we battled extremely hard and guys made some big pitches from the mound against an offense that is obviously swinging the bat very well right now,” said manager John Farrell.  The Blue Jays have won just three of their last 10 games, bouncing back from dropping the last three games to the Tigers by a combined score of 24-7.   Outfielder Jose Bautista continues to lead the offense, launching his 11th home run of the year, while reaching base safely in 27 of 28 games this season.  Toronto is 6-10 versus division opponents this year.

Blue Jays starting pitcher Jesse Litsch is 3-2 with a 4.04 ERA in six starts this season, while alternating wins and losses over his last four outings.  The right-hander is coming off a 7-4 home win over the Tigers, giving up a single run and four hits over 6.1 innings of work.  Litsch has posted a perfect 2-0 record and 2.84 ERA in his first two home starts this season, as opposing hitters are hitting just .217 against him.  In eight career starts versus the Red Sox, he has compiled a 4-3 record and 4.11 ERA.

Bettors will likely back the Blue Jays due to their 98-80 home record over the past three years, while the Red Sox are 1-7 in Lackey’s last eight road starts.

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