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The Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox are both looking up at the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East standings. But they both have an opportunity to get a big win as they face off at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. Boston is the home team here, but their home field advantage could be muted by the pitching advantage that the Blue Jays enjoy coming into this nationally televised matchup.
The Toronto Blue Jays dropped the opener of this series to the Boston Red Sox, which was their second consecutive loss after they lost their series finale to the Seattle Mariners in extra innings. Offense has not been an issue for the Jays of late, as they have scored five or more runs in each of their last two games. But they have allowed 16 runs in those two losses, and they will hope that Yusei Kikuchi can help right the ship on the mound.
Early this season, Kikuchi has been one of the pleasant surprises across all of Major League Baseball, as he is a perfect 4-0 on the season. Kikuchi has also allowed one run or fewer in four of his last five starts, with the Blue Jays winning all five of those games. But Kikuchi has not been perfect this year either, and he will have to be especially careful about giving up home runs.
So far this season, Kikuchi has given up six longballs to his opponents on the year, including three in one start to the Los Angeles Angels. At Fenway Park, short flyballs can turn into home runs to right and left field, and additional extra-base hits can be found regularly off of the Green Monster in left. As a result, the Blue Jays starter will need to be at or near his best in this one.
Fortunately, run support should not be an issue for Kikuchi and the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Toronto ranks ninth in Major League Baseball in team batting average, and their ability to get balls in play will benefit them at Fenway Park. Whether or not that is enough to help them win this game remains to be seen.
The Boston Red Sox led by two runs on two different occasions in Monday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Despite blowing both of those multi-run advantages, the Sox managed to secure a walk-off hit from Alex Verdugo to escape with a 6-5 victory in their series opener with the Jays. Now, the Red Sox will look for their fourth straight win, as they attempt to remain out of last place in the AL East standings.
The starting pitching matchup for this game is a concern for the Red Sox, as they send Tanner Houck to the hill for this contest. Houck is 3-1 on the season so far for the Sox, but he has been vulnerable to giving up runs in bunches, as his 4.50 ERA would suggest. Against a lineup with the power that the Blue Jays’ lineup has, it will be interesting to see how Houck performs in a significant contest for his team.
Fortunately for Houck and the Red Sox, he should also get plenty of run support, thanks in large part to the dynamic duo of Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo. Devers has 10 home runs and 27 RBI so far this season, ranking in the top-five in MLB in both of those categories. Meanwhile, Verdugo is hitting .311 on the year, and the way that these two players work off of each other will be huge for the Red Sox once again on Tuesday night in what could be a high-scoring game.
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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