The Boston Red Sox are on the verge of clinching the American League East for the second straight season and would prefer to take care of that early this week. The Red Sox will try to cut their magic number and earn their seventh consecutive win when they begin the final homestand of the regular season by hosting the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.
Boston reduced its magic number to three with a win over the Cincinnati Reds and a loss by the rival New York Yankees on Sunday, and can wrap up the AL East title with a strong series against Toronto this week before potential playoff foes the Houston Astros arrive for the final weekend set. The Red Sox are winners of 14 of their last 17 contests and continue to ride the bullpen, which is working on a streak of 21 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run and owns a 1.09 ERA in the last 17 contests. The Blue Jays helped Boston out by taking two of three from the Yankees over the weekend and are 9-6 in their last 15 games. Toronto will send left-hander Brett Anderson to the mound on Monday while the Red Sox counter with lefty Drew Pomeranz.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet (Toronto), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays LH Brett Anderson (3-4, 7.15 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Drew Pomeranz (16-5, 3.15)
Anderson is hoping to move past his last start, when he was hammered for eight runs on seven hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings by the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday. The 29-year-old surrendered three or fewer runs in each of his previous four outings. Anderson was strong at Boston on Aug. 29 but could get no help from his offense and absorbed a loss despite allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings.
Pomeranz continues to prove he is a frontline starter in the American League and scattered five hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings on Tuesday at Baltimore. The 28-year-old is 7-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 13 starts since the All-Star break and yielded a total of three runs in 18 1/3 innings over his last three turns. Pomeranz is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts against Toronto this season.
1. Red Sox UTL Eduardo Nunez (knee) ran the bases before the game on Sunday and could return during the series.
2. Toronto C Russell Martin recorded seven RBIs in his last four games.
3. Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia is 1-for-26 in his last seven games.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 2