The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays will meet on Friday night in an AL East matchup featuring teams that are among the best offensively. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr and J.D. Martinez, this showdown should feature plenty of runs.
The Blue Jays are coming off a series loss to the White Sox in Chicago, while Boston is 6-4 over its last 10 games. On Thursday, the Sox prevailed 12-8 over the Astros at Fenway. Catcher Christian Vasquez had a big night, collecting three hits and three RBI.
This was in spite of some strange situations, “To manage these games is not fun, but I understand how people like it,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said regarding the odd plays.
The Red Sox are listed by the sportsbook as -117 favorites on the moneyline, with the Jays coming in as +107 underdogs. First pitch at Fenway is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on NESN or Rogers Sportsnet.
Toronto at Disadvantage with Stripling
Once named to the All-Star team, right-hander Ross Stripling has struggled mightily since joining the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade from the Dodgers.
Last year in his first season with the new ballclub, Stripling had a 6.32 ERA in 15.2 innings pitched. This year, he holds an ERA+ of 92 as a starter in the Jays rotation. If the Jays want to be taken seriously as postseason contenders, they will need to make a move at the deadline for a quality arm.
Look for Stripling to have trouble today against a Boston lineup that has absolutely raked so far, with a nucleus of Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, and Rafael Devers.
Devers is currently tied with Jose Abreu and Vlad Jr for the most RBI in the American League with 48. Bogaerts is second in AL hits with 73 behind Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins.
Richards Faces Tough Test
Garrett Richards was one of the finest young pitchers in 2014, and when healthy, has always had amazing stuff. Injuries have derailed most of his career, and Richards has become somewhat of an afterthought.
In his first campaign with the Red Sox, Richards is enjoying an ERA+ of 115, averaging eight strikeouts per nine innings.
Like Stripling, Richards will be tough against the young Blue Jays, who feature elite bats like Vlad Jr, Teoscar Hernandez, and Marcus Semien.
After a rough 2020, Semien is back to being an MVP candidate, while Guerrero Jr co-leads the league in home runs with 18 alongside Ronald Acuna. If it wasn’t for going down with Covid-19 earlier in the season, Teoscar Hernandez would be up there in overall statistics as well.
Fade the Jays
The total is tasty but I think the smart money is on Boston. The Red Sox have the pitching advantage, and Toronto’s bullpen has been god awful as of late.
Bet online on the Red Sox with Richards rather than Stripling, and Fenway Park can be an irritating place to play for road teams who aren’t as comfortable with the field dimensions. Look for Toronto left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr to have issues manning the Green Monster, and that could be the difference-maker.
The Pick: Red Sox Moneyline (-117)