Game 24: Red Sox at Blue Jays - Quick trip north of the border to try to right ship
This Boston Red Sox team resembles nothing of the 2013 team. That team was clutch. That team played error-free ball. That team pulled together and didn't fall apart when things seemed headed downhill.
This team ... not so much. Five errors and countless other mistakes - 12 walks by pitchers, 10 strikeouts and four total hits by the Sox - led to a 14-5 beatdown by New York. It hasn't all been that bad this season, but Thursday night was a season summary.
As the Sox head to Toronto to face an improved Blue Jays squad, they do so with one goal in mind: win this series. Another series loss would be their fourth out of eight (three series wins, one tie) to start the season. The Jays got off to a hot start, but have dropped three of four and five of eight to fall to .500 for the season. Winless Jake Peavy will have his work cut out with a dangerous offense in a dangerous stadium. Peavy gave up five runs on 10 hits and four walks in his last start, but a Red Sox rally gave him a no-decision, his fourth of the year. Peavy has a 3.33 ERA and has struck out 25 batters in 24 1/3 innings.
Here's the Red Sox (10-13) lineup tonight (first pitch - 7:07 pm ET):
1) Pedroia, 2B 2) Victorino, RF 3) Ortiz, DH 4) Napoli, 1B 5) Gomes, LF 6) Bogaerts, SS 7) Pierzynski, C 8) Middlebrooks, 3B 9) Bradley Jr., CF Peavy, P
Boston has its work cut out with Mark Buehrle getting the start for Toronto (11-11). He is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA. The resurgent left-hander has allowed just two runs and 21 hits in 28 innings. Oddly, he struck out 11 batters in a near complete game shutout in his season debut, but has only struck out eight total in three starts since.
For the first time this season, the Red Sox boast what was expected to be their starting lineup this season. The only argument could be made for Grady Sizemore, but he and Jackie Bradley Jr. are interchangeable. Shane Victorino went 1-for-5 Thursday with a double and Will Middlebrooks is back after a calf injury sidelined him during the Milwaukee series.
Struggling to say the lEAST
Although the Red Sox have only faced two of the four AL East division foes, Boston is already falling behind. The Sox are 6-8 overall against East rivals, with the majority of the damage coming at the hands of the Yankees (2-5 record against). Boston has a 4-3 record against Baltimore and will face Toronto and Tampa Bay for the first time this season in these next two series. Last season, only the Orioles (11-8) had a winning record against the Red Sox.
X streak up to 8 Xander Bogaerts has quietly put together an eight-game hitting streak. He extended the streak Thursday with a 2-for-4 night, including a double. It was his first multi-hit game of the streak.
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