The Boston Red Sox have failed to win a series opener this season and now welcome the upstart, AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays for a pivotal early-season series.
Pivotal Divisional Series Begins
The Toronto Blue Jays (6-4) were the betting favorites to win the AL East in the pre-season MLB odds, and the team boasts a blossoming young lineup and added pitching depth in the offseason has a one-game lead after the first week. Among the titans they look to hold off are the Boston Red Sox (5-5), who sit a game back and could claim the divisional lead with a series sweep.
Shoring up Blue Jays’ Starters
The Toronto Blue Jays look to break an early-season trend where, aside from the first two games of the season, they win one game and lose the next. They beat Oakland 4-3 on Monday but did not cover 1 ½ and had under 8 ½ hits.
The easiest way to a victory on Tuesday is for left-handed starter Yusei Kikuchi to have a strong start. Toronto’s bullpen has a 3.38 ERA, but starters have a 5.70 ERA. In his first start against the New York Yankees, Kikuchi allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in 3.1 innings pitched, in what ended up being a 4-0 loss.
Toronto’s offense has been strong, averaging 4.3 runs per game (13th in MLB) and the third-best home run rate of 1.43 per game. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has five home runs — tied for the league lead — and a 1.036 On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and George Springer also have had good starts while Bo Bichette and newly acquired Matt Chapman look to improve.
Red Sox’s Time to Tee Off
The Boston Red Sox have yet to win the first game of a series, going 0-3 against the Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and Minnesota Twins. Now, they get an offensive juggernaut in the Toronto Blue Jays. Boston was favored in two of those games.
Boston is facing a left-handed pitcher, which the Red Sox have hit better in the early going. They’ve hit .241 and averaged 7.5 runs per game against lefties, both numbers above their early-season averages. It’s a lineup that boasts talented right-handed bats, including Xander Bogaerts and a trio of guys off to a slow start: J.D. Martinez, newly acquired Trevor Story, and Enrique Hernandez. Also, Rafael Devers is off to a great start, hitting .349 with eight runs scored, seven RBIs, and five extra-base hits.
Nathan Eovaldi will be on the bump taking his 1-0 record with him. He has a 4.50 ERA with 13 strikeouts to two walks in 10 innings pitched so far. He picked up a no-decision on Opening Day in New York and a win in Detroit, a 9-7 victory in which Boston covered 1.5.
Blue Jays vs Red Sox Head-to-Head
A season ago the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox played evenly matched. The Red Sox won the season series 10-9 overall, but Toronto was 4-1 over the final five games of that season. All but one of those games were at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
Blue Jays vs Red Sox Game Information
- Game: Blue Jays (6-4) vs Red Sox (5-5)
- Location: Fenway Park
- Day/Time: Tuesday, April 19th, 7:10 p.m. ET
- Live stream: MLB.tv
Blue Jays vs Red Sox Betting Lines
Blue Jays vs Red Sox Prediction
The Boston Red Sox have had decent starting pitching to start the season, but there is room for improvement. As the highest-paid active pitcher, Eovaldi needs to be the horse, eat some innings and limit runs if the Red Sox are going to win their first series opener. Making his third start, he should see a bump up to 110 pitches after going from 75 in his opener to 101 his last time out.
There is a lot of power in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup, so consider that when making your MLB picks. Generating walks and high-stress innings could lead to a big blast to get the Blue Jays a coveted lead early and allow the backend of the bullpen to do their job. But it won’t be easy against Eovaldi, who has had a better start to the season than Kikuchi.