The Toronto Blue Jays will likely be relegated to playing the spoiler role in September and hope to add more misery to the slumping Red Sox when they visit Boston for the second of a three-game series on Tuesday night. Toronto belted four homers among 14 hits in Monday’s 10-4 victory over the Red Sox, who lost for the eighth time in 12 contests and saw their lead in the American League East shrink to 2 ½ games.
Kendrys Morales snapped out of a 0-for-14 slump by going 2-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs for Toronto, which sits 7 ½ games out in the race for the AL’s second wild card and would have to jump over seven teams. Marco Estrada will try to hold down the dangerous Boston lineup when he takes the mound Tuesday against struggling left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who has not won a game since May 26. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who has been limited after returning from a knee injury, is expected to be back in the lineup for the Red Sox and he is 13-for-38 with 14 RBIs in nine games against the Blue Jays this year. Most of Boston’s problems have been on the mound as it has surrendered at least five runs in eight of the last 12 contests.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports (Toronto), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Marco Estrada (7-8, 5.23 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Eduardo Rodriguez (4-5, 4.40)
Estrada has won his last two starts despite allowing nine runs and 15 hits over 11 innings combined while enjoying the benefit of 21 runs of support. The 34-year-old from Mexico boasts 156 strikeouts across 156 1/3 innings, but surrendered 26 homers in his 28 starts - seven in the past six outings. Pedroia is 11-for-26 with three doubles against Estrada, who is 0-0 with a 1.74 ERA in two starts versus Boston this year.
Rodriguez took the loss in each of his last two starts and is winless in his last 10 outings with four defeats during that stretch. The 24-year-old Venezuelan permitted five runs in each of his last two turns while giving up 17 hits (three homers) across 11 2/3 innings combined. Morales is 4-for-13 with a pair of doubles versus Rodriguez, who is 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) against Toronto.
1. Boston RF Mookie Betts is 21-for-61 with 18 RBIs against the Blue Jays this season, but is just 5-for-31 overall in his past eight contests overall.
2. Toronto INF Ryan Goins is 4-for-9 in the past two contests and has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games.
3. Red Sox RHP Craig Kimbrel has struck out 106 of the 213 batters this season, by far the biggest percentage in the majors.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 4