Mired in a late June slump, the Toronto Blue Jays enter a three-game series over Canada Day weekend with the Boston Red Sox in desperate need of a momentum change. After a disaster to start 2017 filled with injuries, the Blue Birds did show promise in May and early June to give hope a third consecutive playoff appearance was still possible. However, a skid since June 16 placed the Jays right back in the hole they fought to climb out of and into a situation where wins against AL East opponents are crucial to keep them breathing in the playoff hunt before the All-Star Break.
On the inverse, the Red Sox’s June saw them chase down their hated rivals in the New York Yankees to take sole possession of first place in the AL East. With the surprising Yankees regressing closer to their preseason expectations, the Red Sox appear set to take control of the division and make a run at their first World Series appearance since 2013. The addition of ace pitcher Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox has paid off and entering July, it certainly appears the Red Sox are the team to chase for the Jays and the rest of the division going forward.
Here is what you need to know prior to this weekend’s battle of first place and last place at the Rogers Centre:
Blue Jays – Red Sox Previous 2017 Meetings:
Boston Red Sox: 2-1
Over/Under Record: 1-2
In the Jays-Red Sox late-April series at the Rogers Centre, both teams struggled at the plate in the final two games of the three-game set. An 8-7 explosion in the series opener was followed by two low scoring affairs, with the Under easily cashing in both games to close out the opening series of the year between the two teams. Francisco Liriano shut out Red Sox in the Jays sole win in the series in a 3-0 win. While Marco Estrada and Chris Sale dueled in a game that was tied at 1-1 apiece after nine innings before Boston took the series win with three runs in the top of the tenth.
Based on the previous meetings, the Unders in this weekend’s set are certainly worth monitoring. With the Blue Jays offense sputtering at the bottom of the American League in runs scored, it could be another long three games at the plate for Toronto against the stout Red Sox pitching staff.
Fister Projected to Open Series for Red Sox
If there is one thing in the Blue Jays advantage this weekend against the first-place Red Sox, it is the projected pitching matchup for Friday’s series opener. Marco Estrada will take the hill for Toronto on Friday night, while the Red Sox will give Doug Fister his second start since he was signed by Boston after the veteran pitcher was dumped by the Los Angeles Angels without making a single big league appearance for the team.
Fister was brought in to answer Boston’s problems at the backend of their rotation, but against Estrada, the Jays couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to start the series off with a win to build towards chopping away at the Red Sox’ division lead. With Fister’s career 5.06 ERA at the Rogers Centre, backing the home team could lead to a winning bet on Friday night.
Blue Jays – Red Sox Series Betting Tips
Friday: Jays ML
Sunday: Jays ML, Under