The Blue Jays hit Drew Pomeranz all over the yard and chased him in the third inning on Monday evening. Toronto leads 5–2 in the middle innings as I make start writing this now.
If tonight’s score holds up, the Red Sox will lose a full game in the East on Monday, which means the magic number would remain at three. Assuming that’s the case, Boston will have a four-game lead in the division with six left. A tie would be no good, though; that would mean the Red Sox and Yankees would have to play one game for the division, with the loser dropping down into the play-in game, which is something neither side would like to gamble with.
The Sox shouldn’t have much trouble wrapping things up this week but Tuesday could pose another tough matchup, even with Chris Sale on the bump for Boston.
Sale got his 300th strikeout in his last start, against the Orioles, when John Farrell let him stay out there for another 111 pitches in a decided ball game. That does mean he can make a run at Pedro Martinez’s club record of 313, though. Sale is scheduled to make a second start this week, over the weekend against the Astros. That may not be an advisable play, however, with the Astros looming as Boston’s likely Division Series opponent.
Strikeout records aside, Sale has looked a little more hittable down the stretch here than early on this season when everybody assumed he was a shoo-in for the Cy Young. Corey Kluber has come on strong in the second half but Sale has at least one more outing to make his case. Toronto might be the team he would choose to do it against. Sale has thrown 22 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays this season.
JA Happ will go on the other side. He hasn’t given up more than two runs in any of his three starts against Boston this season, four earned runs in just under 17 innings in total.
Boston has been swinging it well as a team but Mookie Betts dinged his wrist up on Monday and Eduardo Nunez tried to play and clearly could not, which was a disheartening sight. Boston still has business to take care of but John Farrell gave Andrew Benintendi the night off on Monday and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a regular or two get Tuesday to rest as the last week of September runs out.
Josh Donaldson homered Monday and did some more good things, too. He’s back to being the best player on the field these days. With him that way and Happ on the mound, Toronto has enough to win this one. The Jays are available on the runline at even money, which feels like a worthwhile play in this particular spot.
Free Pick: Blue Jays (+1.5) +100
American League East • Boston Red Sox • toronto blue jays