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Tuesday first 5 innings play (ytd 16-18)

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  • Tuesday first 5 innings play (ytd 16-18)

    Boston/Toronto over 4.5 even:
    As Boston (74-57) is trying to everything except pull away from the pesky Yankees in the AL East, they extended their lead to 3.5 games last night with a come from behind 6-5 win over Toronto (61-70) in the opener of this 3 game series. Christian Vazquez hit a 2 run HR and went 4 for 4 with 2 runs driven in and another scored while Mitch Moreland went 2 for 5 including an RBI infield single highlighting a 4 run 7th inning. Hanley Ramirez went 2 for 4 with 2 runs as did Eduardo Nunez who blasted his 11th HR of the season. Drew Pomeranz lasted 6 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits despite 5 walks and 4 strikeouts improving to 14-4 overall. Craig Kimbrel earned his 30th save in 34 chances (88%) despite making things interesting in the 9th by serving up a 2 run HR to Justin Smoak, his 36th of the season. Kendrys Morales went 1 for 4 with 2 RBI on a 2 run double that gave the BLue Jays an early lead, but it wasnít enough as Danny Barnes (2-5) spoiled a potential win from Marcus Stroman who went 6 strong and gave up just 2 runs on 7 hits with 4 strikeouts. Barnes lasted just a third of an inning and surrendered 3 of Bostonís 4 runs in the 7th. The Jays now trail Minnesota by 6.5 games for the second wildcard spot with just 31 games remaining.

    Toronto sends Brett Anderson (2-2 8.18) to the hill this evening after being called from AAA Buffalo looking sharp after 2 appearances covering 10 innings pitched and one earned run. Anderson came over from the Cubs and has had little success battling through sub-par mechanics and control issues. He faces a Red Sox lineup treading water all season but always finding ways to capture the dagger game winning hits. Boston is hitting just .262 overall and sports an AL Low 139 HR but averages about 4.8 runs per contest due largely in part to manufacturing and taking advantage of bad opponent defense. Mookie Betts (.263 18 77) is tied for second in HR and leads the club in RBI despite going hitless last night ending a 6 game hitting streak. Nunez (.310 11 52) is second on the team with 21 steals and caught just 7 times (75%). Nunez also notched his 4th multi-hit game over the last 7. Andrew Benetendi (.275 18 71) has been roughly streaky all season but despite a 5 for 30 slump (.167) has basically solidified himself as the #3 hitter in the lineup for now and heading into the postseason. Moreland (.254 17 59) is batting .400 over his last 6 games and is still within reach of his 2015 career highs. Hanley Ramirez (.246 19 49) broke a 2 for 16 (.111) and a 7 for 35 (.200) slump with his 2 hits last night, but seems to feel more at home hitting in front of the Fenway faithful. Dustin Pedroia (.303 6 54) is still nursing a knee injury, but John Farrell hopes to have him running the bases and performing baseball drills later this week on pace for an early to mid-September return.

    The Bosox counter with Chris Sale (14-6 2.88) who despite in the middle of a Cy Young race has not pitched sharply over his last few outings in losses to the Yankees and Cleveland. The 28 year old southpaw faces a Blue Jays lineup that is tied for last in the AL with Oakland hitting just .242 overall. Toronto is also averaging just 4.3 runs per contest despite 7th in the AL with 179 HR. Smoak (.289 36 84) is now tied for second in the AL in HR with Khris Davis and just one behind the league lead from Aaron Judge. Morales (.244 22 63) has hit safely in 5 of his last 7 games (.280). Jose Bautista (.209 20 55) is mired in a 4 for 28 slump (.143) and will likely finish up a second consecutive sub-par season since hitting 40 HR in 2015. Josh Donaldson (.259 23 58) is trying to make up for lost time marred by injuries and inefficiency with one final push towards slim wildcard hopes. Kevin Pillar (.252 13 34) has had an up and down season despite leading Toronto with 14 steals.

    We get a bargain of a price this evening at a venue where despite the retractable roof closed for most of the summer at Rogers Centre, the ball carries fairly well given the relatively standard dimensions. From 328 down the lines to 400 in straight away center, we expect the roof to be open this evening as temps will be in the 60ís with a fairly comfortable breeze sustained. Sale could certainly use a quality start in order to get a newfound grip on the AL Cy Young conversation, while Anderson is just looking to sustain his form in the minors rather than his unsuccessful stint in the NL early this season. We look to get back on the left side this evening in a season that has been full of streaks, slumps, and uncertainty. Best of luck however you play!
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