Boston (78-61) at Toronto (77-62)
When: Friday, September 9th 2016
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: NESN, Sportsnet
Rick Porcello will try and become the majors first 20-game winner when his Boston Red Sox visit the Toronto Blue Jays to begin a key three-game series. Boston owns a one-game lead over Toronto in the AL East with Baltimore and New York not far behind. The Red Sox just finished up a 4-2 West Coast trip by winning the last two in San Diego and allowing a total of just 10 runs in the six games. Toronto, meanwhile, was swept by the Yankees this week and have now lost five of their last six overall. Toronto was shut out 2-0 on Wednesday after its pitching staff gave up 30 runs in the previous five games. Reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson has struggled over the last four games for the Blue Jays, going 0-for-12 with five strikeouts, but is hitting .319 with four homers and 11 RBI against Boston this season. The AL East race will start to heat up as the entire division will see each other multiple times the rest of the season and the Red Sox will not leave the AL East the rest of the year.
Pitchers: Red Sox – Rick Porcello (19-3, 3.23 ERA) | Blue Jays – Marco Estrada (8-7, 3.56)
Porcello is 8-1 since the All-Star Break and has won five in a row overall to get himself into the Cy Young talk. Porcello, whose previous high was 15 wins with Detroit in 2014, is 6-3 with a 3.42 ERA in 14 road starts. Jose Bautista (14-for-34, three homers) and Edwin Encarnacion (13-for-34, three homers) have punished Porcello, who is 2-0 with a 5.21 ERA in three starts against Toronto this year.
Marco Estrada has been hit hard in his last five games, surrendering seven homers and 10 walks, with a 1-3 record and 19 runs allowed over 26 innings. He is 3-5 with a 3.30 ERA at home and has won two of three starts against the Red Sox this season. Estrada is 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA in eight appearances (six starts) against Boston in his career.
I’m not looking too much past the pitching matchup in this one. These two pitchers are going in opposite directions and the line is basically a pickem. I’m taking Boston here tonight.
Pick: Red Sox -115