Wednesday MLB Preview – Red Sox at Blue Jays

The Red Sox withstood the power of the Blue Jays in this first game of this series, as a pair of right-handers face off at the Rogers Centre.

Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays

Boston moved its record to 9-2 against the Blue Jays in capturing a 7-5 victory on Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre.  “You know what?  Tonight was like our whole season,” manager Terry Francona said.  “It wasn’t perfect. But we kept playing.”  The Red Sox have won eight of their last 12 road contests and have a 23-16 record away from Fenway Park since May 22.  The club sits five games in the divisional race and just 4.5 back in the Wild Card.  Boston is 6-1 on artificial turf this season, managing to average 6.5 runs and hit for a combined .291 average in those contests.  The team is a fantastic 7-1 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125 this season (+590), but falls off to a 26-32 mark in this situation the last three years (-1,020).  The Red Sox evened up their record against divisional opponents (23-23, -400) and the total in those games is 25-18 O/U.

Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz is 12-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 19 starts this season and has led the team to three straight victories.  In those games, Boston has outscored opponents by a 16-9 margin, while he has given up six runs and 16 hits over 22.1 innings.  The right-hander is a solid 7-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 10 road starts, allowing hitters to hit for a combined .229 average.  He will be making just his seventh start indoors tonight, going 4-3 with a 3.77 ERA, surrendering just two home runs in the process.  In eight career appearances (seven starts) against the Blue Jays, Buchholz has tallied a 4-3 record and 3.30 ERA, including a 2-1 victory at the Rogers Centre on April 27.  He allowed just a single run on seven hits over eight innings in that outing.

Toronto tallied three more home runs to increase its major league-leading total to 178 in a losing effort last night.  The Blue Jays hope to have shortstop Yunel Escobar (knee) and outfielder Vernon Wells (toe) back in the lineup after missing the series opener.  Manager Cito Gaston at least expects Wells to be ready for action in Wednesday’s contest, “If he’s ready to go tomorrow, he’s in there.”  The club is 6-14 against the Red Sox at home since the start of the 2008 season, but has compiled a 30-23 mark at the Rogers Centre this year.  In their last 40 home games, Toronto has produced a 26-14 record and outscored opponents by a 74 runs.  The Blue Jays are 9-5 at home with a money line of -100 to -125 this season (+360) and 40-21 over the last three years in this situation (+1,680).

Blue Jays starting pitcher Shaun Marcum is 10-5 with a 3.44 ERA in 21 starts this season and has won four of his last five outings.  He dropped his last start at Yankee Stadium, giving up five runs and eight hits over six innings.  The right-hander is 4-2 withs a 2.37 ERA in nine home starts, surrendering just three home runs in 60.2 frames.  After posting a 7-4 mark and 3.44 ERA in 17 first half starts, he has picked up right where he left off, producing a 3-1 record and 3.42 ERA in four outings since the All-Star break.  In 13 career appearances (eight starts) against the Red Sox, Marcum has compiled an excellent 5-2 record and 2.91 ERA, giving up just 41 hits in 55.2 innings (.206 BAA).

The Red Sox have won Buchholz’s last six starts on the road versus winning teams and the over is 4-1-1 in his last six road starts.  Toronto is an impressive 10-4 against right-handed starters in their last 14 opportunities at home and have gone 51-39 against them in all games this season (+1,520).

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