Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
When: 7:07 PM ET, Thursday, July 4, 2019
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
TORONTO – The Boston Red Sox continue to look nothing like the club that rolled to a World Series championship a year ago, falling 11 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the American League East. The Red Sox will look to avoid a second series loss to Toronto in under two weeks when they wrap up a three-game set with the host Blue Jays on Thursday night.
Toronto used the long ball to level the series, getting two-run homers from Danny Jansen and Brandon Drury in Wednesday’s 6-3 victory. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. also went deep, giving him a major league-leading 15 homers since he was recalled from the minors on May 24. Boston’s pitchers have allowed at least six runs in seven of its last nine games, including all four meetings against the Blue Jays. Rafael Devers has eight RBIs in the series while Christian Vázquez homered for the third straight game for the Red Sox, who may catch a break with the uncertain status of scheduled Toronto starter Marcus Stroman today.
TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), Sportsnet, TVA (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (5-7, 5.07 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (5-9, 3.18)
A long trip across the Pond resulted in nothing more than a cameo for Porcello, who managed to escape with a no-decision despite being ravaged for six runs and five hits in only one-third of an inning by the Yankees on Saturday. He also was hit hard in his previous turn versus Toronto, giving up five runs on eight hits over six innings to fall to 10-12 with a 5.47 ERA against the Blue Jays. Justin Smoak is 12-for-43 with five homers, three doubles and 14 RBIs against Porcello.
Stroman has won both starts versus Boston this year but left his last outing due a pectoral cramp and told reporters Wednesday that he was leaning toward skipping Thursday’s start. Left-hander Thomas Pannone, scheduled to start for Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday, is the most likely replacement after striking out 22 and allowing two earned runs in three outings since he was sent back to the minors. Pannone pitched at least three innings in three of his 23 appearances with Toronto.
- Vazquez is 8-for-18 with three homers and seven RBIs in a four-game hitting streak while Devers has hit safely in seven in a row.
- Jansen is 4-for-8 with two homers and four RBIs in the series and has gone deep in four of his last six games.
- Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts struck out four times on the day he was named an injury replacement for the All-Star Game.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays