Game 26: Record-setting night ahead?

Blue Jay logic
( Photo by Tom Szczerbowski Getty Images)
Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

After going 7-3 on a 10-game homestand, the Boston Red Sox (18-7) hit the road, starting with a three-game series in Toronto. Jon Lester gets the nod tonight. He went 7 innings, allowing five hits, no runs with six strikeouts in his last outing against the Blue Jays. With a win tonight, the Sox would set the club record for wins in the month of April with 19. Another noteworthy tidbit, Joel Hanrahan has been activated for tonight’s game. We’ll find out how manager John Farrell plans to use him and Andrew Bailey in the closer’s role going forward.

Here is tonight’s Red Sox starting lineup (first pitch – 7:07 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Nava, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Carp, LF
7. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Middlebrooks, 3B
9. Drew, SS

Lester, P

Toronto counters with Brandon Morrow on the hill against Boston. Morrow is 0-2 with a 5.27 ERA in five starts this season. He has three no-decisions and the Jays are 1-2 in those games.

Feeling Blue…Jays
The Blue Jays are on a five-game losing streak, including getting swept in a four-game series by the Yankees in the Bronx. They come into the series in last place in the AL East with a 9-17 record, 9.5 games behind the first-place Red Sox. Boston won’t have to deal with Jose Reyes this series. He lit up Red Sox pitching, going 8-for-12 with two doubles, a home run and two RBIs, sparking the Jays’ offense from the leadoff spot. Reyes is sidelined for another month or two with an ankle injury he suffered in mid-April against Kansas City.

The Blue Jays held a players-only meeting following the sweep in New York. You can read more about that here.

Red HOT Sox
Boston, on the other hand, swept the Astros out of Fenway Park over a four-game series and is currently riding a five-game winning streak. The Sox are off to their best start in decades and can set the club’s all-time record for most wins in April with a win tonight. The Red Sox' 18-7 record is best in baseball. Jon Lester (4-0, 2.27 ERA) and Clay Buchholz (5-0, 1.19 ERA) account for half of those wins. In fact, Boston is 10-0 in games started by the dynamic duo this season. With the way things are going, you can expect more of the same, as Lester and Buchholz take the hill in the first two games of this series against the woeful Jays.

Last time we were here…
Will Middlebrooks had a career day, blasting three home runs and nearly missing a fourth in the third game of the opening series between these two clubs. He went into a terrible slump following that game. Maybe he’ll find his form again in the Rogers Centre. … WMB wasn’t the only Sox player to go off that day. Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Jacoby Ellsbury each pitched in with a homer as well. The Sox went on to win 13-0 behind a solid outing by Lester. … J.A. Happ was not scheduled to pitch this go-round against the Red Sox. Rumor is he is being moved up to start Thursday. He shut out Boston through 5.1 IP, allowing just one hit in the Jays’ only win of the series. … Farrell makes his second appearance north of the border as Red Sox skipper. Toronto packed the Rogers Centre and showered Farrell with boos and paper airplanes during his first trip. We’ll see if they have anything else in store this time. … Boston leads the season series 2-1. The Sox are 8-4 against AL East opponents this season. Toronto is just 3-10 against its division foes.

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

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