The Toronto Blue Jays will try to continue their dominance over the visiting Boston Red Sox Wednesday night in the third game of a four-game series.
The Blue Jays won their fourth in a row against the Red Sox on Tuesday night, with the home run again playing a big part. George Springer tied the game with a two-run home run in the eighth inning and Raimel Tapia’s sacrifice fly won it in the 10th.
Bo Bichette hit a tiebreaking eighth-inning grand slam in the opener on Monday in Toronto’s 6-2 win.
The only Red Sox victory so far between the American League rivals was a 2-1 decision in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park on April 19.
If there was some encouragement to be gained for the Red Sox on Tuesday, it was that their slumping bats showed signs of life in a four-run eighth inning. That gave Boston a 5-2 lead that the bullpen could not hold.
Alex Verdugo, who had the go-head sacrifice fly in the eighth, has his ideas about why Boston’s hitters are struggling.
“We do need to make longer at-bats and make the starting pitchers work a little bit more,” Verdugo said. “We’re kind of getting them off the hook a little easy. We get guys on, we maybe chase the first pitch, and it’s not the one we want, and we ground out or things like that.
“Sometimes, aggressiveness is going against us. It’s baseball. It’s one of those things that at any point, momentum can change. You put one good swing on a ball and it can change the game.”
The Red Sox thought that might have been the case on Tuesday, but Jake Diekman allowed three runs in the ninth.
A spark in Boston’s eighth-inning rally came in the form of a leadoff single by Rafael Devers, who entered as a pinch hitter after being given a scheduled day off.
“I think he could really use it like a lot of our guys could use it,” Red Sox acting manager Will Venable said before the game. “Especially playing these games on the (artificial) turf, I think he’ll take full advantage of having a day off, for sure.”
Boston entered Tuesday’s game having scored only 18 runs in their previous eight games.
Right-hander Michael Wacha (1-0, 1.88 ERA) will start for Boston against Toronto right-hander Ross Stripling (0-0, 4.50). In four career games (three starts) against Toronto, Wacha is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA. Stripling is 2-3 with a 7.50 ERA in six career starts against Boston.
After making two one-inning relief appearances to open the season, Stripling will make his third start. He did not factor in the decision Friday when he allowed three runs in four innings in a 4-3 win over the host Houston Astros.
He allowed his three runs in the third.
“I think that’s as good as stuff as I’ve maybe ever had,” Stripling said. “The slider was really good, everything was working. The first two innings were good. I was proud of the way I battled. I’m glad they let me go out there in the fourth and finish on a good note. And then our bullpen continued to do their job with five scoreless innings.”
–Field Level Media