Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
When: 1:05 PM ET, Thursday, July 18, 2019
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – Chris Sale has been taking it on the chin in each of his last four starts, a stretch that includes allowing five or more runs for a career-high third straight time in his last trip to the mound. The seven-time All-Star aims to get back on track this afternoon when the Boston Red Sox conclude their four-game series against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.
“I’m going out there every fifth day and getting my (expletive) kicked. … It’s tough going out there every day being a liability for your team,” said Sale, who has answered eight quality starts in 10 contests with an 0-2 mark and 7.59 ERA in his last four. Rafael Devers is a hardly a liability with the way he’s been playing, as the 22-year-old highlighted a three-hit performance with a homer and four RBIs in Boston’s 5-4 win over Toronto on Wednesday.
Teoscar Hernandez went deep twice in that contest and has three blasts in the series to give him 11 of 45 homers in his career versus the Red Sox. Hernandez is just 2-for-11 with a homer in his career versus Sale.
TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, Sportsnet, TVA (Toronto), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays LH Thomas Pannone (2-3, 6.18 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Chris Sale (3-9, 4.27)
Pannone is slated to be recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to make his third start of the season on Thursday, however his initial flight was canceled due to bad weather in Boston. Should the 25-year-old Rhode Island native be unable to make it to Fenway Park in time, Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters that it “could be a bullpen day.” Pannone relieved opener Derek Law and allowed four runs on as many hits in 4 1/3 innings of a no-decision versus Boston on July 4.
Sale fell to 7-4 with a 3.07 ERA in 15 career starts against Toronto after going 0-2 with a 7.98 ERA in three outings this season. Freddy Galvis (6-for-13) and Randal Grichuk (6-for-15, two homers) have flustered the 30-year-old Sale, who will bid for his first regular-season win at Fenway Park in 53 weeks on Thursday. Sale allowed five runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings of an 11-2 setback versus the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday to see his season ERA elevated to 4.27, more than two full runs above his total in 2018 (2.11).
- Boston OF Mookie Betts has at least one hit in nine straight games and a run scored in each of his last 12.
- Toronto 1B Justin Smoak is 4-for-12 with a homer, three RBIs and as many runs scored in the series.
- Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts has five homers and 16 RBIs during his nine-game hitting streak.