Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale recorded 13 strikeouts in his last trip to the mound and would match Pedro Martinez for the club record of 313 should he duplicate that impressive feat in Tuesday’s game against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. Sale also aims to set a career high in wins should he emerge victorious in the second contest of the three-game series, pulling him even with Cleveland’s Corey Kluber for top honors in the American League.
“We have quite a few games left and hopefully beyond that. Keep your eye on the prize and look back on this when it’s all said and done,” Sale told reporters of the Red Sox, whose magic number to clinch their second straight AL East title resides at three. Mookie Betts drove in a pair of runs before exiting with a wrist injury as Boston saw its six-game winning streak halted with a 6-4 setback on Monday. Former AL Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson answered a 3-for-22 homestand with a 3-for-3 performance in the series opener for Toronto, which has won 10 of its last 16. Like many others, the 31-year-old has struggled mightily in his career versus Sale by going 5-for-24 with five strikeouts.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet, TVA Sports (Toronto), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays LH J.A. Happ (9-11, 3.64 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Chris Sale (17-7, 2.75)
Happ saw his three-start winning streak halted on Thursday despite yielding one run over 6 2/3 innings of a 1-0 setback versus Kansas City. The 34-year-old has permitted one earned run in four of his last five trips to the mound and owns a 6-3 mark in his last 10. Happ has pitched well in three encounters with Boston this season, receiving no-decisions in the first two outings before picking up the win in a 10-4 triumph on Sept. 4.
Sale turned in his second scoreless performance in his last three outings on Wednesday as he scattered four hits over eight innings in a 9-0 rout at Baltimore. The 28-year-old has handcuffed Toronto in three starts this season, striking out 35 against two walks without surrendering a run in 22 innings while limiting the Blue Jays to a .143 batting average. Sale has also been dominant at home this season, posting a 7-2 mark with a 2.81 ERA.
1. Boston OF Andrew Benintendi belted a pinch-hit solo homer in the series opener, giving him 15 RBIs in his last 16 games.
2. Toronto SS Ryan Goins is 5-for-7 with a homer and three runs scored in his last two contests.
3. Red Sox 1B Hanley Ramirez went hitless in four at-bats in the opener and is 3-for-21 in his last seven games.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1