The Red Sox will take on the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game set as they look to maintain the momentum from their four-series winning streak.
Though the Red Sox have lost both Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett in recent days, the incredible production they've received from their replacement players and the returning Cody Ross has not only kept them afloat, but pushed them to new heights. Now, with the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia finally showing signs of life, they're out to make a strong push through the American League leading up to the All-Star break and trade deadline.
Next up for the revived lineup will be the Toronto Blue Jays, coming to Boston for the first time this season. While the Jays have gotten back on track against the Marlins after stumbling against the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals, they still find themselves a game back of the Red Sox now at 37-35. Though they, like the Red Sox, have struggled to find consistency from their rotation, using eight different starters in the month of June, the Jays have finally gotten big contributions from bats like Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus, and Edwin Encarnacion. Given the present state of the Boston rotation, this could be a very offensive series.
Boston Red Sox (38-34) Vs. Toronto Blue Jays (37-35)
Monday, June 25, 7:10 p.m.
Felix Doubront (8-3, 4.31 ERA) vs. Henderson Alvarez (3-6, 4.30 ERA)
Felix Doubront could use a good run of consistent starts to get back to where he was earlier in the season. While he hasn't been terrible in June, he's run into home run trouble over the last few weeks, and with the Nationals and Marlins adding some well-timed hits, the runs have been piling up more than usual. Doubront has had success against the Jays in the past, however, and with the Blue Jays not as good against lefties as righties, this might be a decent opportunity for him to get back on track.
Henderson Alvarez also needs to get back on track after seeing his 2.62 ERA balloon to 4.30 over the last six games, his regression is a lot easier to explain given that he's struck out all of 27 batters in 90 innings this year. That's not a good sign, especially in a place like Fenway. Even with his ground ball tendencies, that's just too many balls in play not to have some hits pile up through sheer numbers alone.
Tuesday, June 26, 7:10 p.m.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2, 6.06 ERA) vs. Aaron Laffey (0-0, 3.00 ERA)
Only three starts back from injury, and Daisuke's rotation spot may already be at risk. Once Beckett and Buchholz are back, the Sox will have to choose who of Cook, Daisuke, and Morales stays in the rotation, and right now Morales is leaving the competition in the dust. Even Aaron Cook has to have the lead right now. As much as it's true that Diasuke has looked great at times through these last few starts, the Sox have years of experience watching Daisuke look great immediately before having a terrible inning. It seems like it's put up or shut up time for Matsuzaka.
Laffey also doesn't seem like someone who should worry the Sox between his 4.52 ERA in 11 Triple-A starts and the fact that he hasn't made a Major League start since 2010. But if we learned anything from the Braves series it's that terrible performances in the minor leagues can translate into great performances against the Red Sox. See: Jurrjens, Jair.
Wednseday, June 27, 1:35 p.m.
Jon Lester (4-5, 4.48 ERA) vs. Ricky Romero (8-1, 4.34 ERA)
Jon Lester says he's making good pitches that are just getting hit, and on some level he's right. His cutter has been better over his last two starts, and in his last outing there were plenty of hits on pitches low-and-away that generally shouldn't result in much damage. That being said, he's really struggled to mix up his approach at the plate, particularly struggling to get inside to batters, thus letting them get comfortable at the plate. If that doesn't change soon, he could have another frustrating night.
Ricky Romero is also not on the best run. While he was fantastic against the Red Sox back in April, he's struggled to find that same form since, and has seen his strikeout rate drop and his walk rate rise dramatically. He hasn't kept an opponent to under four runs (or three earned) since May 18 against the Mets. Unless he manages to find that magic again against the Red Sox, it may just be more trouble for the southpaw.