The Boston Red Sox (47-52) look to keep rolling as they face the Toronto Blue Jays (51-49). Boston has won 5 straight games and 8 of their last 9 to crawl out of the basement of the AL East and to within striking distance (6 games) of a Wild Card spot.
The Red Sox pummeled the Jays last night, piling up a season-high 18 hits and 14 runs. David Ortiz blasted a pair of home runs to pass Carl Yastrzemski for 36th on the all-time home run list (453). Even Stephen Drew got in on the action with a home run. He entered the game with only 5 RBI all season, but added 4 more last night.
The offensive outburst helped Boston leap over a handful of teams to move all the way up to 10th in the AL in runs scored and 5th in OBP. Only the LA Angels have scored more runs per game this month in the AL.
- Jake Peavy (1-8, 4.59 ERA) takes the mound for Boston. This will be a real test for the suddenly resurgent offense, as Peavy has received the league's worst run support this season (3.16 runs per game). If the Sox bats can stay hot, Peavy might get the chance to pick up his first win since April.
- The St. Louis Cardinals are rumored to still have an eye on acquiring Peavy, but have put those plans on the back burner for now, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Atlanta Braves had previously shown interest and the San Francisco Giants may be more enticed, depending on the severity of Matt Cain's injury.
- While the Red Sox offense is heating up, Dustin Pedroia is still struggling to get going. He's marred in a 1 for 16 slump in 4 games since the break, dragging his season average down to .272.
- Boston continues to alternate its catchers, with David Ross back behind the plate tonight. The team is being cautious to ease in Christian Vazquez, who has been outstanding so far. He's the first Red Sox player ever to win each of his first 5 games as a starting catcher, with opponents scoring a total of only 9 runs over those starts.
- Brock Holt is starting in CF tonight to give Jackie Bradley a night off. Shane Victorino is back in RF after resting yesterday and Jonny Gomes is in LF with a lefty on the mound.
- J.A. Happ (7-5, 4.91 ERA) will start for Toronto. His last appearance came out of the bullpen the weekend before the All-Star break. He gave up a pair of runs in two-thirds of an inning after starter Drew Hutchison was knocked out of the game after recording one out in the 6th inning. The Red Sox got to Happ for 4 runs in 5 innings when they last saw him at Fenway back in May.
- Jose Reyes is off to his worst start since his early years with the Mets, batting .271/.323/.406. He's stayed moderately healthy (by his standards), appearing in 83 of the team's first 100 games, but he's 31 now and years of injuries may be slowing him down. He's still capable of swiping a base (18 steals this season), but he's nowhere near the level he was as a young player, when he routinely stole 60-70+ bases a year. Even reaching the 40 steal mark that he hit two years ago seems to be a stretch at this point.
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Tags: Baseball, Boston, Boston Red Sox, Christian Vazquez, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jake Peavy, MLB, Stephen Drew