Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
BOSTON – Perhaps a blowout loss to the hated New York Yankees almost two weeks ago was a good thing for the Boston Red Sox, who haven’t had to sweat very much while posting 10 straight victories. The Red Sox attempt to match their longest winning streak since September 15-25, 2016, on Friday when they host the second of four games against the Toronto Blue Jays.Boston suffered its worst defeat of the season (11-1) on July 1 to fall into a first-place tie in the American League East with the Yankees but hasn’t found itself behind the opposition very often since then, trailing in only 10 of a possible 90 innings. Three of those frames came Thursday before Mookie Betts gave the Red Sox the lead for good with a grand slam to cap a five-run fourth inning en route to a 6-4 triumph, maintaining his team’s 3 1/2-game division lead. Toronto hasn’t had much luck trying to solve Boston of late, dropping six straight and 21 of the last 29 meetings overall since the start of last season. Justin Smoak was unable to homer for the third straight game, but he has knocked in a run in three straight and is batting .409 during a modest six-game hitting streak.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, Sportsnet (Toronto), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays LH Ryan Borucki (0-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (11-3, 3.58)
Although Toronto has scored a total of three runs in his three outings, Borucki continued the stellar start to his big-league career while allowing one run across seven innings in Sunday’s no-decision versus the New York Yankees. The 24-year-old has logged at least six innings and yielded two runs or fewer in each of his three turns since his promotion from Triple-A Buffalo on June 26. Borucki has never faced Boston and lost his only road start after permitting two runs in six frames at Houston last month.
Porcello matched his win total from 2017 in 14 fewer trips to the mound Sunday at Kansas City, tying a season-high with nine strikeouts despite giving up three runs and nine hits over seven innings. The 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner has only taken two turns at home since the end of May, going 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA in those outings. Porcello’s last victory at Fenway Park came May 29 versus the Blue Jays, against whom he allowed three runs (two earned) in 6 2/3 frames.
1. The Red Sox are only the sixth team in the expansion era (since 1961) to win at least 66 of their first 95 contests.
2. Toronto is 13-23 versus divisional opponents (29-27 against all others), including 4-13 on the road.
3. Boston 1B/DH Steve Pearce was forced from the game Thursday after getting hit by a pitch in the second inning, but he has been ruled day-to-day with a shin contusion.