Wed, 22 Sep 2021

Battle of lefties as Blue Jays, Red Sox close out series

Field Level Media
29 Jul 2021, 18:19 GMT+10

Even if the Boston Red Sox stand pat at Friday's trade deadline, a win like the one they had over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night is plenty reassuring.

A rookie starter striking out seven over four dominant innings. A 24-year-old outfielder less than two weeks into his major league career legging out an apparent inside-the-park home run. A backup catcher finishing 3-for-3 to raise his average to .300.

Role players continue to be the key to the Red Sox's success.

"A lot of people thought we were thin, organization-wise," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "We're in a great situation here. I know there's a lot of stuff going on around the league, but the fact that we are where we are ... it's good."

Boston closes out its four-game series against Toronto on Thursday. The hosts won Monday before splitting a day-night doubleheader Wednesday, losing Game 1 by a 4-1 score before winning by the same margin in the nightcap.

Left-handers face off in the finale as the Red Sox's Eduardo Rodriguez (7-5, 5.23 ERA) takes the mound opposite Hyun Jin Ryu (9-5, 3.44). The two battled twice this year back on April 20 (won by Rodriguez) and May 18 (won by Ryu).

The contest will mark the Blue Jays' final regular-season appearance at Fenway Park this year.

"We haven't played great games against these guys," said Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo, whose team is 5-9 in the season series. "Our starters have done a good job, and our offense has been equally good, but their bullpen has been a little bit better in the games that they've won."

Boston has won seven of its past nine games overall. In the second end of the doubleheader, Tanner Houck impressed from the mound, Jarren Duran showed off his legs and Kevin Plawecki led from behind the plate.

Duran's play was especially electric, as he circled the bases on a liner to the gap in center field. A George Springer bobble on the ball resulted in the hit being ruled a triple and an error that allowed Duran to cross the plate.

"His speed changes the game," Cora said. "That's what we're looking for. It's a weapon, and it was fun to watch him run the bases."

It wasn't all positive for Boston, though, as All-Star third baseman Rafael Devers exited in the sixth inning with tightness in his left quad. Devers had a planned day off Thursday, and he'll be reassessed Friday ahead of a key road matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Blue Jays also lost a position player after Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was hit by a pitch in the elbow in the final inning. He will be re-evaluated Thursday, per Montoyo.

After the finale at Boston, the Blue Jays will return to Toronto for their first home game at Rogers Centre since September 2019. Their opponent will be the Kansas City Royals. Toronto played its home games at Dunedin, Fla., and Buffalo, N.Y., as a result of the pandemic.

Ryu is 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA in four July starts. He was tagged for a season-high 10 hits on Saturday but gave up just three runs in 4 1/3 innings against the New York Mets.

He is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA in four career starts against the Red Sox, including a 1-1 mark in two starts this season in which he allowed four runs and 12 hits in 12 innings.

Rodriguez exited after just one-plus inning against the New York Yankees on Friday after experiencing migraine symptoms. He is 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA in four July starts.

Rodriguez has faced the Blue Jays 16 times (15 starts) in his career and he has a 4.78 ERA and a 5-5 record. He holds a 1-1 record in two starts this season against Toronto, having allowed seven runs on 14 hits in 11 innings.

--Field Level Media

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