Blue Jays Leapfrog Red Sox
The mighty American League East has each of the top three teams in the American League wild card race entering Wednesday’s action, but those teams are swapping positions seemingly every day. Such was the case on Tuesday when the Toronto Blue Jays leapt over the Boston Red Sox and into second place in the AL East.
Red Sox Bullpen Thinned Out
We speculated before the series opener that the Boston Red Sox would be impacted in Toronto without their unvaccinated closer and leadoff hitter. It probably didn’t matter much in Toronto’s 7-2 win Monday night, although fill-in leadoff man Rob Refsnyder was 0-for-4 and made the last out of the game with two men on base.
It definitely had an impact Tuesday as the Red Sox were forced to scramble in the ninth while Tanner Houck, who is 6-for-6 in save opportunities, was back home due to Canada’s COVID requirements. The Blue Jays scored two times against two relievers, including Hansel Robles, who picked up his fifth blown save when Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s single drove in George Springer for a 6-5 win.
It caused quite a stir among those who cover the Red Sox, who fell to 2-7 against a divisional foe they may battle for positioning until October. Naturally, that month begins with Boston visiting Toronto for three big games.
Nick Pivetta was a big part of Boston’s surge prior to this series and the club needs him in a big way in Wednesday’s finale. The right-hander is 8-1 with a 1.85 ERA over his last 10 starts.
Perhaps that will sway you in one direction when pouring over the MLB lines at the sportsbook. Perhaps the fact that he allowed seven runs in 8.2 innings over two poor starts vs. Toronto in April will sway you in another.
Blue Jays Turn to Manoah in Finale
While Pivetta’s run since early-May has been admirable, Alek Manoah has been on one since the season started. The 24-year-old was 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA in April, including seven scoreless innings in a win over Boston at home on April 28.
Manoah can become baseball’s first 10-game winner Wednesday — as long as Justin Verlander doesn’t pick up his 10th while pitching simultaneously against the Mets in New York. The Toronto Blue Jays’ ace, who leads the AL in ERA (2.05), is now 18-4 in his young career and 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts vs Boston.
Indeed, Manoah is about as sure a thing as there is for those betting online.
It’s also a pretty safe bet if you put some money on Toronto scoring early. The Jays have produced four first-inning runs in the series and hitters 1-4 in the lineup are a combined 11-for-31 (.354) with seven RBIs and nine runs scored in the two games.
Additionally, the top three batters in Tuesday’s lineup – George Springer, Bo Bichette and Guerrero – are a combined 18-for-47 (.383) with three homers and nine walks in their careers against Pivetta.
Red Sox vs Blue Jays Head-to-Head
Included in Toronto’s 7-2 season series advantage are five wins in six games played in Canada. Which, oh by the way, would be the site of a Red Sox-Blue Jays playoff game if the postseason started today.
Toronto has won 12 of the last 16 matchups overall and eight of the last 10 in Rogers Centre
Red Sox vs Blue Jays Game Information
- Game: Red Sox (42-33) vs Blue Jays (42-32)
- Location: Rogers Centre, Toronto
- Day/Time: Wednesday 7:07 p.m. ET
- Red Sox vs Blue Jays LiveStream: MLB.tv
Red Sox vs Blue Jays Betting Lines
|Boston Red Sox
N. Pivetta -R
|+1½ -145||+144||8½ -105o||3½ -120o
|Toronto Blue Jays
A. Manoah -R
|-1½ +125||-159||8½ -115u||4½ -120o
Red Sox vs Blue Jays Prediction
This one figures to have a bit of a playoff vibe to it. Boston will be playing with a sense of desperation, Toronto with the motivation to stick it to their fellow contender.
Given the potentially tense environment, and the fact that the teams have their two best starters on the mound, it could be a tight night at Rogers Centre. A play on the under at 8½ is a solid one.
Outside of that, we see too many chips stacked against Boston, from its limited bullpen to its somewhat makeshift lineup to the fact that it must face a man who is 10-1 in his career in Toronto and to the Blue Jays’ success vs Pivetta.
The Red Sox will get hot again when they move on to Wrigley Field this weekend. Wednesday in Toronto will be another downer.