Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
TORONTO – The Boston Red Sox hope their dominant play at home travels well on Friday as they begin a 10-game road trip with the opener of a three-game series versus the Toronto Blue Jays. The Red Sox slugged their way to a 6-3 victory on Thursday to take three of four from Minnesota and improve to 25-14 at Fenway Park, although they have dropped six of their last 10 away from Boston.
Mookie Betts belted a homer on Thursday to improve to 7-for-16 with three runs scored during his four-game hitting streak. The 24-year-old torched Toronto by going 5-for-13 with a homer, five RBIs and three runs scored as the Red Sox took two of three at Rogers Centre in April, but is just 2-for-18 with six strikeouts against Friday starter Marco Estrada. The American League East cellar-dwelling Blue Jays fell for the fifth time in seven outings on Thursday as they mustered just three hits in a 2-0 setback to Baltimore. Jose Bautista saw his six-game hitting streak halted on Thursday and is a disastrous 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts this season against Boston.
TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), TVA Sports, Sportsnet (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Doug Fister (0-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marco Estrada (4-6, 4.89)
Making his 200th career start and first with Boston, Fister allowed three runs and struck out six in as many innings of Sunday’s 4-2 setback to the Los Angeles Angels. “Overall, it wasn’t a bad day,” the 33-year-old said of his performance. “They just put together some timely hits and took advantage of well-placed baseballs.” Fister owns a 2-2 mark with a 3.51 ERA in seven career encounters with Toronto, although is just 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in four outings at Rogers Centre.
Estrada fell to 0-4 with a bloated 10.03 ERA in his last five outings on Saturday despite allowing three runs on five hits in seven innings of a 3-2 setback at Kansas City. “I thought Marco looked good; actually really, really good,” manager John Gibbons told reporters of the 33-year-old’s performance against the Royals. “He looked like the old guy. He went deep into the game, pitched his (rear) off.” Estrada didn’t do himself any favors by walking four batters for the second straight contest after issuing just five free passes in his previous six trips to the mound.
1. Toronto 3B Josh Donaldson went hitless in 11 at-bats in his last three games and is 3-for-28 with eight strikeouts in his last seven.
2. Boston CF Jackie Bradley Jr. is 5-for-12 in his last three contests and has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games.
3. Blue Jays CF Kevin Pillar is 10-for-25 in his last eight contests overall and went 7-for-13 in the previous series versus the Red Sox.