The Toronto Blue Jays look to slow down the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday when the teams begin a brief two-game set at Fenway Park.
Boston won for the 11th time in its last 14 games on Monday with an impressive 11-4 rout of the Chicago White Sox. Leadoff hitter Kike Hernandez set the tone with a home run to begin the scoring for Boston and is hitting .327 over his last 12 games.
“I feel comfortable,” Hernandez said. “There’s still some things that I need to get better at. Swing at strikes, take balls. That way I not only get on base by swinging the bat. My job is just to get on base because the guys behind me are really, really good.”
The injury-plagued Blue Jays dropped three of four against Kansas City over the weekend but hope to have outfielder George Springer (oblique) and reliever Jordan Romano (elbow) back by the end of the month.
Outfielder Teoscar Hernandez tested positive for COVID-19 last Tuesday but is no longer experiencing symptoms and could return Friday against Tampa Bay.
One bright spot for the Blue Jays has been the play of first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is hitting .389 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. Guerrero extended his on-base streak to 16 games to start the year in Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Kansas City.
“I feel good where we are as a team with all the injuries,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Guys are playing now that weren’t supposed to play, and that’s how it goes. Maybe some guys are putting more pressure on themselves because now the lineup’s not as strong as it used to be, but that’s how it goes.”
The Red Sox open the series with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (2-0, 3.60 ERA), who pitched five innings and allowed one run on five hits in last Wednesday’s 7-1 win over Minnesota. With the win, the Red Sox improved to 47-12 in his starts since the beginning of 2018 (including the postseason).
Rodriguez is 4-4 with a 4.64 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) against Toronto.
Blue Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu (1-1, 1.89 ERA) takes the mound after giving up one unearned run on four hits with seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in last Tuesday’s 7-3 win over the New York Yankees.
The left-hander is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two career starts against Boston.
Ryu will be charged with slowing down a Boston lineup that exploded for 17 hits in Monday’s rout of the White Sox. J.D. Martinez went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs in the victory and leads the majors with 20 RBIs.
Center fielder Alex Verdugo added three hits and belted his third homer, while catcher Christian Vazquez raised his average to .308 with three hits.
Toronto will likely need more than just Guerrero to keep pace with the Red Sox and could use a spark from their new leadoff hitter. Marcus Semien has struggled in his first few weeks with his new club, batting .182 overall with one hit in his last four games.
–Field Level Media