The Boston Red Sox hope to have some energy left after a draining weekend when they begin a four-game home series against the American League East-rival Toronto Blue Jays on Monday. The Red Sox suffered a 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees in 16 innings on Saturday before splitting a day-night doubleheader a day later, taking the nightcap 3-0 to open a three-game lead in the division.
Dustin Pedroia recorded a pair of hits and an RBI in the victory to extend his hitting streak to five games (8-for-21) and Mookie Betts belted a two-run homer for Boston, which has lost six of its last nine games overall but is 5-1 against Toronto this year. Eduardo Rodriguez returns from the disabled list to make the start for the Red Sox, who will have their hands full against Marcus Stroman in the series opener. Toronto dropped two of three to Detroit coming out of the All-Star break after Sunday’s 6-5 loss in 11 innings and is tied with Baltimore for last place in the AL East. Steve Pearce and Josh Donaldson both have gone 8-for-22 over the last seven games and Russell Martin, who was rested Sunday, is 10-for-29 with a pair of homers in the same span.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA (Toronto), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (9-5, 3.28 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.54)
Stroman has posted six quality starts in his last eight outings, including one on July 8 in which he limited AL-best Houston to one run over seven innings to gain the victory. The 26-year-old Duke product had one of his worst starts of the season against Boston on April 18, surrendering six runs and a season-high 11 hits over 4 2/3 frames of a loss. Xander Bogaerts is 10-for-20 with a homer versus Stroman, who is 4-2 with a 5.07 ERA against Boston.
Rodriguez returns to the rotation after missing 6 ½ weeks with a knee injury and allowing one run over 6 1/3 innings in his final rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on July 9. The 24-year-old Venezuelan yielded a season-high seven runs and eight hits - four homers - over 5 2/3 frames in his last outing on June 1 before going on the disabled list. Martin is 3-for-9 with a homer versus Rodriguez, who pitched one inning of scoreless relief against Toronto earlier this year.
1. Toronto All-Star 1B Justin Smoak belted his 24th homer on Sunday and already has hit four more than his previous career high.
2. Boston UTIL Brock Holt (vertigo) returned to the roster for the first time since April 20 on Sunday and went 1-for-5 in the doubleheader.
3. Blue Jays DH Kendrys Morales homered Sunday, pulling him within three runs of 500 in his career and four hits of 1,100.
PREDICTION: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 3