Only a second half rally in the final game against the Astros prevented the Red Sox being swept in the last series. With a return trip to Houston at the end of the week, the Red Sox will be hoping to pick up momentum with a series against the struggling Blue Jays
5/20 David Price vs. Edwin Jackson (R) 1:07 pm NESN
5/21 Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Marcus Stroman (R) 7:07 pm NESN
5/22 Rick Porcello vs. Aaron Sanchez (R) 7:07 pm NESN
5/23 Hector Velazquez vs. Ryan Feierabend (L) 7:07 pm NESN
David Price’s return from the injured list is timed perfectly for the Red Sox. His return in the first game of this series gives him a tune up outing before he will be required to pitch in Houston over the weekend. In terms of ERA, Price has been the Red Sox best pitcher this season. In six starts, Price has a 1-2 record, a 3.75 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 36 innings. Additionally, both his FIP and xFIP this season are below his ERA, suggesting he is every bit worth his current numbers.
It has been an interesting season for Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays pitcher had a strong start to the season. In his first six starts Stroman had a 1.43 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings. However, in May he has struggled, with 13 earned runs allowed in just 20 1/3 innings for a 5.75 ERA with 15 strikeouts.
Aaron Sanchez has had a similar start to the season, with a 2.32 ERA in the first month of the season, and a 6.30 ERA in May. Sanchez left his last start against the Chicago White Sox with a blister on his right middle finger. If he does pitch in this game he could be limited in what he can throw and how he can control the ball.
The Red Sox face three right-handed pitchers again in this series. Mitch Moreland has 12 home runs this season with right-handed pitchers on the mound. Mookie Betts (7) is the only other Red Sox hitter with more than five home runs off right-handed pitchers this season. They account for 19 of the 41 home runs the Red Sox have hit with righties on the mound.
2019 has been a rough season for the Blue Jays at the plate. Over the course of the season they rank in the bottom quarter of the league for most statistics. That includes 26th in OBP and home runs, 27th in runs and batting average, and 28th in slugging percentage.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The Rotation: This series has a lot of interest on the mound for the Red Sox. Firstly, there is the return of Price from injury, who will be looking to get solid innings in in preparation for the trip to Houston. Then the Red Sox hand the ball to their three biggest pitching question marks right now. Rodriguez and Porcello have got their ERAs below five for the first time this season. Thursday’s game sees Velazquez take the ball, after being tagged for five earned by the Astros last time out. The Red Sox will be hoping this group can have a strong outing against a poor Toronto Blue Jays team.
Hitting: It was a slow start to the season for the Red Sox. They ranked 18th in the majors in runs scored, and averaged 4.62 runs per game. In May they rank third with 100 runs at an average of 6.5 runs per game. With the rotation struggling for consistency, the Red Sox need their offense to keep firing.
Losing at home to the Astros was not ideal by any means. However, the Red Sox were competitive in two of the games, and against the favorites in the AL to make the World Series that is acceptable, if not great. Now they head to the Blue Jays before embarking on a tough stretch of their schedule.
This series is important, not only to win, but to win well. With the Astros, Indians, Yankees and Rays all coming up, the Red Sox need to get some momentum going. The Blue Jays have struggled with the bat this season. Hopefully that means the Red Sox pitchers be able to get some nice outings under their belts. Same goes for the hitters. The Blue Jays have two pitchers on the mound who have struggled in May. Two pitchers will be making just their second starts of the season. This series could be a perfect opportunity for the Red Sox to build some confidence heading into a tough road ahead.