Early AL East Showdown
The Toronto Blue Jays came into the season as the favorite to win the American League East Division and the Boston Red Sox are a perennial playoff contender. However, neither team has looked like a threat to reach the postseason so far.
Something to look at in the Blue Jays vs Red Sox betting preview, the game features two of baseball’s most exciting players/ Toronto first baseman Vlad Guerrero Jr. is the American League leader with five homers while Boston third baseman Rafael Devers was one of the top contenders for American League Most Valuable Player award last season.
Toronto is 2-0 in games decided by one run while Boston has split its two one-run games.
Team records: Blue Jays 6-4; Red Sox 5-5
Dates: Three-game series starts Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET (teams also play at 7:10 p.m. on Wednesday and at 1:35 p.m. on Thursday)
Location: Fenway Park, Boston
Blue Jays Atop AL East Division
Quick, a show of hands of everybody who thought the Blue Jays would be leading the American League East Division after 10 games while Cavan Biggio has yet to record a hit, key offseason acquisition Matt Chapman is hitting .226 and Bo Bichette has a .222 batting average.
Toronto was outscored by the Texas Rangers in its opening series but won two of the three games. Then, the Blue Jays were shut out twice in four games against the division rival New York Yankees, only to split that series.
A couple things have been working in Toronto’s favor. First, starting pitcher Alex Manoah and closer Jordan Romano have been lights out and, while the Blue Jays haven’t always had sustained rallies, they are third (first among AL teams) with 33 extra-base hits.
Something to consider in the Blue Jays vs Red Sox betting preview: Toronto playing Texas and Oakland in two of the first three series hasn’t hurt the Blue Jays’ record. Speaking of the schedule, Toronto’s final 12 games in the month of April will be against either Boston or Houston.
Pitching a Work in Progress for Red Sox
With Chris Sale and James Paxton both on the injured list, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Boston’s starting pitching hasn’t been one of its early-season strengths. That is a key part of the Blue Jays vs Red Sox betting preview.
Michael Wacha, a reclamation project who was 10-16 pitching for three different franchises over the last three seasons, has been the most effective starter with an 0.96 earned run average in two starts, although he doesn’t have a win to show for it. Opening Day starter Nathan Eovaldi is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and he surrendered four homers in his first two starters. Tanner Houck (1-0, 3.00 ERA) has been solid but there are some questions about his availability for road games because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. Rich Hill and Nick Pivetta are a combined 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA.
What all of this means is some mediocre results for the team picked to finish fourth in the AL East coming into the season. The Red Sox haven’t won more than two games in a row but, fortunately for them, none of the teams in the division are playing like 100-win squads. So Boston is only a game out of first place heading into the series against division-leading Toronto.
Zack Collins, Blue Jays C: Collins is 6 of 11 with two doubles, a homer, two runs scored and two more driven in over his last three games.
Jordan Romano, Blue Jays P: Toronto’s closer has six saves in six appearances. In his last two outings, he has not allowed a hit with two strikeouts in two innings. He hasn’t allowed a run in six innings.
Phillips Valdez, Red Sox P: Valdez hasn’t allowed a run in three relief appearances. He has allowed one hit and struck out seven in 3.2 innings .
Alex Verdugo, Red Sox OF: Verdugo has hits in each of his last four games. He is 4 of 12 in those games with two homers and five RBIs.
Jose Berrios, Blue Jays P: In two starts, Berrios has allowed nine hits and seven runs in 5.1 innings. Berrios has walked five hitters and allowed three homers.
Bobby Dalbec, Red Sox 1B: Dalbec is 1 of 11 in his last three games with no extra-base hits and two strikeouts.
Vlad Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays 1B: Since hitting three homers in a win over the New York Yankees, Guerrero is 2 of 15 with seven strikeouts. One of his two hits was a home run for the AL leader with five homes.
Nick Pivetta, Red Sox P: Pivetta is 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA in his two starts. He has walked five and allowed three homers and eight runs.
Toronto catcher Danny Jansen and outfield Teoscar Hernandez are out. That leaves the Blue Jays without players hitting .571 and .316. Starting pitchers Nate Pearson and Hyun Jin Ryu are also sidelined.
Red Sox starting pitchers Sale and Paxton are out for a couple more months while reliever Josh Taylor is on the 10-day injured list. Kevin Plawecki is on the COVID list and it is uncertain when he will return .
Blue Jays vs Red Sox Starting Pitchers
Tuesday: Yusei Kikuchi (Blue Jays) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (Red Sox)
Wednesday: Jose Berrios (Blue Jays) vs. Nick Pivetta (Red Sox)
Thursday: Kevin Gausman (Blue Jays) vs. Tanner Houck (Red Sox)
Blue Jays vs Red Sox Betting Guide
Runs could come early and often during the series as five of the six probable starting pitchers have ERAs over 4.00. Tuesday’s game features two pitchers off to rugged starts. Toronto probable starter Jose Berrios has an 11.81 ERA and Boston’s Nick Pivetta is only slightly better at 9.39.
Something that could impact the Red Sox betting odds: Boston has yet to steal a base and is 23rd in on-base percentage, so much of the offense in the early portion of the season has come via the home run. Toronto is second with 14 home runs and also ranks in the top 10 in batting average.
Toronto is 2-2 on the road while Boston is 2-2 at home.
The Blue Jays have won four of the last five games against the Red Sox, with each of the last three games decided by one run.
The pitching matchups favor the Red Sox so keep that in mind when making a Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox prediction.