Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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MLB Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (18-12) at Boston Red Sox (17-14)


THE LATEST: The Blue Jays took a 6-6 tie into the bottom of the 8th inning last night in Boston, ultimately losing the game by a 7-6 final…Did all their damage in the 5th inning, putting up five hits and six runs, both marks tying a single inning season high…Have lost consecutive one-run games, dropping to to 6-3 in such contests this year…Have lost three straight games for the second time this season (also: 3G from April 1-3). Toronto has still won eight of its last 13 games and 17 of its last 26…Need a win today to avoid losing their third series of the season (7-2-0 so far).

WELCOME TO THE ‘SHO: Daulton Varsho capped off a six-run 5th inning for the Blue Jays last night with a three-run bomb over the home bullpen in right center field…Was his third home run of the season, all of which have come on the road…Also picked up his 50th career double in the 4th frame, finishing the game 2-for-4, his 6th multi-hit game of the year…Marked his first game with multiple extra-base hits since Sept. 7, 2022 at SD as a member of the Diamondbacks.

A MONTH TO REMEMBER: Matt Chapman has been announced as the American League Player of the Month for the month of March/April..Marks the first POTM award of his career, and the first by a Blue Jay since Marcus Semien in May 2021. The 30-year old led the AL in March/April in batting
average (.384), OBP (.465), SLG (.687), OPS (1.152), and total bases (68), while sitting tied for 1st in hits (38) and tied for 8th in RBI…His 15 doubles and 20 extra-base hits were both the most in the Majors, and the most ever by a Toronto player before the month of May.
The third baseman also continues to lead all MLB hitters in barrel rate (19.5%) this season, is 2nd in hard-hit (95+ MPH) percentage (65.8), and sits 3rd in average exit velocity (95.4 MPH).

A VLAD, VLAD MAN: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. plated a pair of runs with a single in the top of the 5th inning last night before singling again in the 7th…Went 2-for-4 on the night, his 10th multi-hit game of the year, tying him for the 6th most in the AL. The 24-year old is now 37-for-119 with six doubles, five homers, 17 RBI, and a 13BB/16K ratio for a .311 AVG (7th in the AL), a .390 OBP (5th), and a .877 OPS (14th)…His 37 hits are tied for 4th most in the AL while his 58 total bases rank T-10th…Has recorded 57 hard-hit balls (95+ MPH) this season, two more
than any other Major League hitter (2nd: Paul Goldschmidt – 55).

BOTTOM’S UP: Kevin Kiermaier reached base twice on Tuesday on a pair of singles, part of a 2-for-4 night with a run scored, his 6th multi-hit effort of the year…Is now batting .275 (22-for-80) with three doubles, two triples, a home run, and eight RBI (.726 OPS)…His 22 hits while batting 9th are the most in the Majors (2nd: Michael A. Taylor – 21), while his 11 runs scored from that position trail only J.P. Crawford (14) for the most.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Blue Jays are on a 10-day, nine-game road trip with four contests in Boston, three in Pittsburgh (20- 10), and two in Philadelphia (15-16)…Their 18 road games played are tied with Cleveland and Philly for the most in the Majors…Own a 9-9 road record this year, tied for the 5th-best road win % among AL teams. Blue Jays hitters lead the AL in road hits (161) while ranking 4th in road AVG (.254), 5th in OBP (.325), 6th in OPS (.732), and 6th in SLG (.406)…The pitching staff ranks 13th in the AL in road WHIP (1.36), 13th in road opponents’ batting average (.269), and 14th in road ERA (5.08).

HITTING IT: The Blue Jays have notched 265 hits so far this season, 3rd most in the AL…Are also 5th in the AL in team batting average (.257), 5th in OBP (.333), 6th in OPS (.739), and 7th in SLG (.406). Toronto’s offence has racked up at least 10 hits on 13 occasions this year, trailing Tampa Bay (16), Texas (14), and Boston (14) for the most in MLB…Since the start of 2022, the Blue Jays have 79 such games, four more than any other team (MIN – 75). The Blue Jays are one of just three AL teams who have scored a run in every game this season (BAL and LAA)…Have gone 48 consecutive games without being shut out, the 2nd-longest active streak in the Majors (LAA – 71G).

DIVISIONAL DETAILS: The Blue Jays loss on Tuesday night dropped their record against divisional opponents to an even 4-4 this season…Have still won 27 of their last 41 games vs. AL East foes, dating back to Aug. 17, 2022…Went 43-33 (.566%) in divisional play in 2022, the 2nd-best winning percentage within the division (NYY – .618) and the club’s best since registering a .581 win% in 2006 (43-31).

BUFFALO BLAST: Jordan Luplow hit his first home run in a Buffalo uniform last night as the Bisons dropped a 9-8 contest in Worchester…The 29-year old cleared the bases with a shot over the left field fence in the top of the 5th inning…The blast was the first grand slam of his 10-year professional career.

VS. THE RED SOX: All-Time: 320-384
2023: 0-2 Road: 166-190
Road: 0-2 Fenway Park: 166-190

The Blue Jays went 16-3 vs. the Red Sox last season, their most wins vs. a single opponent in a season all-time (15 vs. BAL in 2002 and 2010)…Outscored Boston 125-55 for a run differential of +70, their highest ever in a season vs. one opponent (+69 vs. BAL in 2021)…Have won eight of their last 10 games at Fenway Park and 12 of the last 18. Whit Merrifield is a lifetime .385 (52-for-135) hitter against the Red Sox, the 4th-highest average ever against Boston (min. 100 AB)…Has recorded multiple hits in 15 of his 33 career games against the Red Sox. George Springer batted .380 (27-for-71) with six extra-base hits and 16 RBI in 18 games against the Red Sox last season, including hitting safely in each of the final 11 contests…Over 55 career meetings, has gone 68-for-214 (.318) with nine doubles, three triples, 13 homers, and 41 RBI (.976 OPS). Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 21-for-71 (.296) in 18 games vs. BOS last year, notching six doubles, two homers, and 14 RBI…In 35 career games at Fenway Park, has batted .338 (45-for-133) with 16 extra-base hits and 29 RBI for a .982 OPS.

Making his 7th start of the season and his 4th on the road…Landed a no-decision his last time out on 4/28 vs. SEA, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks over 5.0 frames with a season-high 7 strikeouts. Since entering the league in 2021, has held opposing hitters to a .204 AVG, good for 6th best among qualified hurlers.

Threw 7.0 shutout frames on 4/22 at NYY, scattering just 2 hits and a walk with 5 strikeouts…Was his 2nd outing with 7.0 scoreless innings this season (also: 4/5 at KC). Took the loss on 4/16 vs. TB, tossing 4.2 innings and allowing a career-high 7 earned runs on 9 hits and 4 walks with 5 punchouts…Threw 101 pitches (61 strikes), eclipsing the century mark for the 1st time this year. Took a no-decision in the team’s Home Opener on 4/11 vs. DET, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits and 5 walks over 4.1 innings with 3 strikeouts…Became the 5th pitcher in team history to pitch the club’s Season Opener and then their Home Opener, joining Jim Clancy (1981), Jimmy Key (1989), Marcus Stroman (2016), and Hyun Jin Ryu (2020). Earned his 1st win of the year on 4/5 at KC, tossing 7.0 frames of one-hit, shutout ball with four walks and five strikeouts. Was the Opening Day starter for the Blue Jays on 3/30 at STL…Took a no-decision that day, giving up 5 runs on a career-high 9 hits and 2 walks over 3.1 innings with 3 strikeouts… At 25 years and 80 days old, became the 4th-youngest Opening Day starter in team history (Drew Hutchison -24.227 in 2015; Todd Stottlemyre – 24.324 in 1990; Marcus Stroman 24.338 in 2016).


WE’RE GOING STREAKING!: The Red Sox have won a season-high 4 consecutive games, their longest winning streak since 8/31-9/4/22 (5 games). They are tied with TEX for the 2nd-longest active winning streak in MLB, trailing only LAD (5 games). The Sox have come from behind in each of their last 3 wins. 3 of the Sox’ last 4 wins have been decided by 1 run.

STATE OF THE SOX: The Red Sox are 12-6 (.667) in their last 18 games, dating back to 4/14…They own the 2ndbest record in the AL during that span and 3rd best in MLB (BAL: 13-3, .813; PIT: 12-5, .706). During that 18-game span, they have averaged 5.8 runs per game with 27 HR and an .842 OPS.

Rk. Team W-L Pct. GB

  1. Baltimore 19-9 .679 +4.0
  2. Toronto 18-11 .621 +1.5
  3. Boston 17-14 .548 –
  • Houston 16-14 .533 -0.5
  • LA Angels 16-14 .533 -0.5

SERIES BUSINESS: With a win tonight or tomorrow night, the Red Sox would improve to 7-3-0 in series play, including 5-1-0 at home. Last year, the Sox went 1-7-2 in their first 10 series and did not earn their 7th series win until 6/8 (began 6-8-3). This would be the Sox’ 2nd series win vs. AL East opponents (2-2-0 record; also won 3/30-4/2 vs. BAL)…In 2022, they didn’t win their 2nd series against an AL East opponent until 8/14 (began 1-11-1).

COMEBACK KIDS: The Red Sox trailed 6-3 entering the bottom of the 5th inning last night, earning their MLB-leading 12th come-from-behind win. The Red Sox trailed by multiple runs in 6 of their 12 comeback wins, including by 4 runs on 4/15 vs. LAA and by 6 runs on 4/1 vs. BAL. They have won 4 games in which they trailed after 7 innings, already matching their 2023 total (4-64).

CLOSE SHAVES: 22 of the Sox’ 31 games have been decided by 3 runs or fewer (12-10), including 17 by 1 or 2 runs (10-7)…The only team with more games decided by 3 runs or fewer is CLE (24). The Red Sox lead MLB with 4 walk-off wins, including 2 of their last 4 games (Saturday vs. CLE, Monday vs. TOR). The Sox and Brewers are the only teams with multiple extra-inning wins and 0 losses in extras (both 2-0).

WE’VE SEEN THIS BEFORE: The Red Sox qualified for the Postseason 10 of the previous 11 season’s they started 17-14 or better, including their last 4 World Series Championship seasons (2021, ‘18, ‘17, ‘16, ‘13, ‘09, ‘08, ‘07, ‘05, ‘04). The Sox’ 44 HR are their 2nd most all-time through 31 games, trailing only 1997 (45 HR). The Sox’ 176 runs scored are their most through 31 games since 2009 (181 R).

Stat 2022 2023
W-L 11-20 17-14
Runs scored 107 176
Home runs 18 44
AVG .229 .266
OPS .630 .796

HELP IS ON THE WAY: Joely Rodriguez yesterday threw 1.0 inning in an extended spring training game in Fort Myers. James Paxton is scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester on Friday…He started for the WooSox on Sunday vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, tossing 5.1 scoreless innings with 2 H, 1 BB, and 8 SO (90 pitches).

SLUGGING SOX: The Red Sox lead MLB in doubles (68), rank 2nd in XBH (114), and rank 3rd in runs (176) and hits (282). The Sox tied a season high in HR last night (4)…They have hit 10 HR over their last 4 games, their most in a 4-game span since 5/22-26/22 (also 10). The Red Sox have hit 3 grand slams, tied with the Dodgers and Rangers for most in MLB…The Sox have had runners on base for 23 of their 44 home runs, 4th
most in MLB behind TEX (25), LAA (24), and LAD (24).

Stat AL Rank
176 R 3rd
44 HR 2nd
282 H 2nd
114 XBH 2nd
19.9 SO% 2nd
Stat AL Rank
.266 AVG 2nd
.338 OBP 4th
.458 SLG 3rd
.796 OPS 3rd
116 wRC+ 4th

TEAM EFFORT: Five different players have recorded a go-ahead RBI in the 8th inning or later for the Red Sox: Alex Verdugo (4/18 vs. MIN, 4/29 vs. CLE, 5/1 vs. TOR), Adam Duvall (4/1 vs. BAL), Yu Chang (4/15 vs. LAA), Masataka Yoshida (4/23 at MIL), and Connor Wong (5/2 vs. TOR). The Red Sox have 12 players with at least 8 RBI, tied with TB for most on any team. Spots 7-9 in the Sox’ lineup have produced the most hits in MLB (92), 2nd-most XBH (34), and 3rd-most RBI (53).

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Connor Wong set career highs with 4 hits and 2 home runs last night, hitting a game-tying solo HR in the 6th inning and a go-ahead solo HR in the 8th. In his last 10 games, Wong is batting .433 (13-for-30) with 2 doubles, 3 HR, 7 runs scored, and 8 RBI. Wong ranks 2nd among all position players and leads MLB catchers with 7 defensive runs saved…He has thrown out 6 runners attempting to steal, tied for 2nd most in the AL and 4th in MLB (14 attempts).

MACHO MAN: Masataka Yoshida hit a solo HR in the 4th inning last night to extend his current hitting streak to 12 games, tied with Robbie Grossman (TEX) for the longest active hitting streak in MLB. During his streak, Yoshida is batting .435 with a 1.264 OPS, 9 runs, and 13 RBI (20-for-46, 4 2B, 4 HR, 5 BB, SF).

ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD: The Red Sox’ outfielders lead MLB in FanGraphs’ WAR (4.2), AVG (.313), OBP (.378), SLG (.542), OPS (.920), hits (115), doubles (32), XBH (50), runs (66), and RBI (72). The Sox’ outfielders rank T-4th in MLB in HR (16).

Stat 2022 (MLB Rank) 2023 (MLB Rank)
AVG .243 (16th) .313 (1st)
OBP .301 (24th) .378 (1st)
SLG .375 (22nd) .542 (1st)
OPS .676 (24th) .920 (1st)
H 453 (7th) 115 (1st)
XBH 163 (T-8th) 50 (1st)
R 237 (T-12th) 66 (1st)
RBI 218 (13th) 72 (1st)
fWAR 1.9 (27th) 4.2 (1st)

HOME COOKING: The Red Sox are 9-3 over their last 12 home games, winning each of their last 3 home series (3-1 vs. LAA, 2-1 vs. MIN, 2-1 vs. CLE, 2-0 vs. TOR). The Sox have scored 105 runs on 179 hits (72 XBH) in their 18 home games…They lead MLB at home with 9.9 hits/game and 4.0 XBH/game, while ranking 4th with 5.8 runs/game. At home, the Sox rank top 3 in MLB in AVG (2nd, .285), OBP (3rd, .354), SLG (3rd, .482), and OPS (3rd, .836). SOX & JAYS: The Red Sox are looking to win their 1st series against the Blue Jays since 7/19-21/21 in Toronto, and their 1st home series vs. TOR since 8/7-9/2020.

2023 1-2 5.11 5 5 24.2 14 5 11 28 1.38 .242
CAREER 41-52 5.02 163 141 765.2 427 129 302 812 1.39 .260

Allowed 4 runs over 5.0 IP on Friday vs. CLE (5 H, 2 BB, 5 SO, HR). Has tossed 5.0+ innings with 5+ SO in 4 of his 5 starts this season. Has issued 3 or fewer walks in each of this 5 starts this season. Allowed 4 runs over 5.0 IP in his last start vs. TOR, on 9/30/22. Is 11-4 with a 3.66 ERA (45 ER/110.2 IP) in 20 career starts in the month of May. Opponents are batting .214 this season in at-bats ending with his curveball (6-for-28, 12 SO, HR). Is 1 of only 12 pitchers to make at least 68 starts since the beginning of 2021.

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