The Boston Red Sox have lost four straight games and are seeing their once tight grip on the American League East Division lead loosen up a bit. Their once comfortable lead in the East is down to just 2.5 games entering play today. The Sox are headed to Toronto to try and get back on track Monday night in game one of a three game series with the Division rival Blue Jays. You are going to be seeing this matchup a lot down the stretch as the Red Sox and Blue Jays have nine more meetings over the course of the last 32 games of the season. If the Red Sox are going to clinch the Division title, they are going to have to do it by beating these Jays. That push starts Monday night in Toronto, first pitch is scheduled for 4:07 PM PST from the Rogers Centre.
Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays Pick
Drew Pomeranz (13-4, 3.18 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (11-6, 3.17 ERA)
The Red Sox will send out giant right hander Drew Pomeranz (13-4 3.18 ERA)to the mound to stop the bleeding Monday night. The 6-6, 240-pound righty, is enjoying a breakout season in Boston this year. Pomeranz’s 13 wins are second in the American League this season, behind only teammate Chris Sale and Kansas City Royal’s ace Jason Vargas. His 3.18 ERA on the year has him fifth in the league, ahead of guys like Ervin Santana, Chris Archer, and Jason Vargas. He has very quietly been very good this year for Beantown. Pomeranz has won his last seven decisions, the last two of which he faced off against the Indians Corey Kluber and the Yankees Luis Severino, he isn’t afraid to match up with the opposing team’s best starter, he walked away with a win both times. He will once again have to face off against the best a team has to offer tonight, as he will face Toronto’s ace Marcus Stroman (11-6 3.17 ERA).
Stroman has been on of the few bright spots in what has been a season wasted in Toronto. He is truly emerging as one of the best young pitchers in the American League, and it looks like Toronto will be building around him to form another contender in the years to come. He did get touched up against a bad Tampa Bay Rays offense his last time out to the tune of five earned runs in just 5.1 innings. And he seemingly hasn’t been as sharp in August as he has given up 18 runs in just 33.1 innings so far this month. Maybe the fact that the Jays have fallen completely out of contention is causing him to give less than 100%, maybe it’s just the dog days of August catching up to a young pitcher. Whatever it is, Stroman has been decent in August but not quite as good as he has been most of the season.
This is a big matchup for the Boston Red Sox. With the New York Yankees nipping at their heels for the Division title, the Red Sox need to take care of business in Toronto this week. They were having a great month until the wheels came off this weekend against a surging Orioles team, they lost the three games by a combined score of 25-4. They need to quickly get back on track, and a soft matchup like this against a struggling Blue Jays team is just what the Dr. ordered.
I expect the Red Sox to bust out of their funk and get their act back together tonight against a suddenly mediocre Marcus Stroman, who has seen his strike out rate dip and his batting average against rate rise this month. Pomeranz has been solid, and I expect that to continue against the 27th ranked offense in the Majors. I expect both teams to swing and miss a lot as both of these starters can sit guys down, but tonight I am leaning on the much better overall team, the Boston Red Sox. Stroman and Pomeranz are a tough matchup, but I think Boston is just too good of a team to struggle for this long and expect a strong performance to kick off this series. Give me the Red Sox is a tightly contested matchup today as small road favorites.
PICK: Red Sox -112.