MLB: Toronto tries to side-step trouble


MLB: Toronto tries to side-step trouble




One of the prerequisites of being a division leading team that makes the playoffs is to avoid losing streaks. During the course of a 162-game season, the losing bug can grab any team and end up hanging around, the key is to not let it hang around too long


2009-05-22

One of the prerequisites of being a division leading team that makes the playoffs is to avoid losing streaks. During the course of a 162-game season, the losing bug can grab any team and end up hanging around, the key is to not let it hang around too long. The Toronto Blue Jays have done an excellent job of this in the first quarter of the season, having not lost three games in succession and dropping only three series. They will be tested while looking to avoid being swept tonight in Boston. The BoSox are a hefty -175 favorite. Get the latest info on this A.L. East showdown on the TEAM STATISTICS page.

The Red Sox (24-16, +3.6 units) returned home to Fenway Park after inferior road trip and have taken down Toronto twice, with pitching and power display. Boston hurlers have limited the Blue Jays to four total runs in the first two games. Last night, four different BoSox hitters went yard, including David Ortiz who did so for the first time in 2009.

Once again the Boston bullpen continued to shine and the Red Sox are 10-0 in home games with a hot bullpen whose ERA is under 2.00 the last five games. Manager Terry Francona has assigned Jon Lester (2-4, 6.51 ERA, 1.617 WHIP) to lead Toronto’s demise. Lester has allowed 13 runs in 10 innings over his last two outings and will look to avert a third straight loss.

“There will not be a pitcher for the remainder of the season that will work as hard as I will to get to where I was last year," said the Red Sox lefty after 5-4 setback at Seattle on Friday. "It's the little things that are screwing up my outings, and it will turn around." Typically where it turns around is at home, with Lester and Boston 22-5 in home games over the last three seasons.

Toronto (27-16, +10.3) has gotten by this season by being more aggressive at the plate and showing far greater patience when hitting. The Blue Jays have .355 on base percentage, amongst the best in baseball and are sixth in home runs. The genuine surprise has been the starting pitching, thrown together in the spring because of injury.
Among this group is tonight’s starter Robert Ray (1-1, 3.60, 1.100), who won his first major league game his last time out against Chicago, pitching eight innings and not allowing earned run in 2-1 triumph. Right-handed batters are hitting just .229 against Ray and Toronto is 32-17 in May the last two years.

Sportsbook.com has Boston as large -175 money line favorites with total Ov10. The Red Sox are 42-16 as a home favorite of -125 to -175 and 28-6 when the total is 10 or higher at Fenway. After all the big bombs last night, Boston is 23-9 UNDER after a game where they had six or more extra base hits. Toronto is 22-11 in road games after scoring three runs or less two straight games and Ray needs to go right after Sox batters since they are 10-20 after slugging five or more home runs in single contest. The Jays are 10-4 OVER as underdogs.
The final game of the series starts at 7:10 Eastern on NESN and MLB.TV, with Toronto having lost three in a row and nine of its last 12 against the Red Sox, including four straight in Boston.
StatFox Power Line – Toronto -107

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