Sunday MLB Preview – Blue Jays at Red Sox

The series finale finds a pair of solid right-handers facing off against each other at Fenway Park this afternoon.

Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox

Toronto fell 5-4 in 11 innings in Saturday night’s contest against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, as reliever Casey Janssen served up a walk off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning.  “I just kind of talked myself out of a pitch,” Janssen said.  “You can second guess.  If I get him out, it’s the right pitch.  If I don’t, then it’s the wrong pitch.”  The Blue Jays are 4-10 against the Red Sox this season, including a 2-3 mark on the road in this series.  The club is 13-27 versus Boston dating back to the middle of the 2008 season, but they’ve actually won five of the last eight contests at Fenway Park.  Toronto dropped below .500 on the road with yesterday’s loss, currently standing at 33-34 away from the Rogers Centre (+590).  The Blue Jays are still bring a solid 27-21 mark against division opponents into the series finale (+1,120) and the total is 22-25 O/U in those contests.  It’s important to note that the team is 7-10 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 in 2010 (-60) and 18-31 in this situation the last three years (-670).

Blue Jays starting pitcher Shaun Marcum is 11-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts and picked up a 3-1 road victory over the Athletics in his last outing.  In that game, he allowed just a solo home run in a complete game effort.  The right-hander is 7-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 13 road starts this year, issuing just 12 walks while compiling 64 strikeouts in 79.1 innings of work.  He will be making his 13th daytime start this afternoon, producing a 6-2 record and 3.28 ERA, as opponents are hitting for a combined .241 average.  In 14 career games (nine starts) versus the Red Sox, Marcum is 5-3 with a 3.92 ERA, but was hit with eight runs in just four innings two starts back against them.  He has made six appearances (four starts) at Fenway Park, posting a perfect 3-0 record and 2.08 ERA.

Boston can win its fifth consecutive series with a victory in today’s contest after splitting the first two games of a three-game set.  With Saturday’s victory, the Red Sox didn’t lose a game in the standings to the Yankees or Rays, who both won.  “This is the time of the season where you have to win some games,” designated hitter David Ortiz said.  “Those guys on the other side are playing well, and we really don’t want to be too far away.”  Ortiz has excelled against the Blue Jays in his career, hitting 37 home runs against them, which is sixth all-time for any player versus the club. The team has 23 of 35 games at home since May 29, outscoring opponents by a 182-155 margin and come into this game with a 37-26 overall mark at Fenway Park (-240).  Boston is a solid 13-7 as a home favorite of -125 to -150 (+320) and the total in those contests stands at 8-11 O/U for the season.

Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz is 14-5 with a 2.36 ERA in 21 starts this season and the team has won his last five outings overall.  He is coming off a brilliant 6-0 home performance versus the Angels, tossing seven shutout innings and allowing just five hits.  The right-hander has produced a 6-3 record and 2.51 ERA in 10 home outings, surrendering just a single home run in 64.2 frames.  The third-year starter will be making just his sixth daytime appearance, going 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA, issuing 15 walks and striking out just 11.  Buchholz is a perfect 3-0 with a fantastic 1.19 ERA in four starts this month, allowing just 21 hits in 30.1 innings.  In nine career outings (eight starts) against the Blue Jays, he is 5-3 with a 2.79 ERA.

Bettors must note that the Red Sox are a disappointing 12-19 in day games this season (-1,170) and just an even 10-10 in August.  Toronto has compiled a solid 53-41 mark against right-handed starters (+1,520).

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