Sports Baseball

On Deck: Red Sox at Blue Jays

By Donald Duench, Toronto Sun

Mitch Moreland of the Boston Red Sox. (ADAM GIANZMAN/Getty Images files)

Mitch Moreland of the Boston Red Sox. (ADAM GIANZMAN/Getty Images files)

BOSTON RED SOX at TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Probable starting pitchers

MONDAY 7:07 p.m.
LHP Drew Pomeranz (13-4, 3.18 ERA) vs. RHP Marcus Stroman (11-6, 3.17 ERA)
Pomeranz has the best win percentage (.765) among qualified AL pitchers. He’s also fifth in that same group in ERA, 0.01 behind Stroman. The three better ERAs belong to Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, and Luis Severino.

TUESDAY 7:07 p.m.
LHP Chris Sale (14-6, 2.88 ERA) vs. RHP Tom Koehler (1-6, 7.42 ERA)
Sale leads MLB in strikeouts (253) and is tied for the AL lead in wins. However, he has been hit hard in his last two games (0-2, 9.00 ERA)

WEDNESDAY 7:07 p.m.
RHP Rick Porcello (8-15, 4.57 ERA) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (6-10, 4.10 ERA)
Porcello won the Cy Young last year. Not this year, though. He still gets the ball every five days, and has rewarded his manager’s patience with four wins in August.
 

TOP 3 STORYLINES

1. The Sox are slipping
Yes, Boston is in first place in the AL East — and FanGraphs gives the team a 99.6% chance of making the postseason — but there are problems with the Red Sox. They have lost four games in a row for only the second time this season, and three were blowouts.

2. Discovering Devers
In the middle of July, the Red Sox and Yankees were both in the market for help at third base. The Yankees added 3B Todd Frazier, along with relief help, in a trade with the White Sox. Boston promoted Rafael Devers, who was in double-A when the month began. Devers had eight home runs in his first 20 games, including one off a 102.8-m.p.h. fastball from Aroldis Chapman. Devers has cooled at the plate in the past eight games, and he has made six errors, but he has made his name among Red Sox Nation.

3. Rajai ready to help
On Wednesday, the Red Sox placed OF Jackie Bradley Jr. on the disabled list because of a sprained left thumb. Later that day, they acquired OF Rajai Davis from the Oakland Athletics. Davis is 36, but he can still contribute — and like his new teammate Devers, has a memorable homer against Chapman.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

RHP Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays
The Stro Show was on the sidelines for Players Weekend, but he gets the start Monday against a top AL team.

1B Mitch Moreland, Red Sox
His team might be on a losing streak, but Moreland has been one of the team’s more productive hitters recently. He’s 6-for-16 with three home runs in his past five games.

 

DUENCH'S TAKE

The Red Sox are 5-1 against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre this season. This trend should continue despite Boston’s recent struggles. Boston wins two of three.