Toronto got on the board in this series with a 6-2 victory Saturday afternoon, getting two homers from Jose Bautista and a quality outing from SP Esmil Rogers, even though he did not get a decision.
The Jays beat us as +130 underdogs on Saturday's MLB betting line, and the game played UNDER its total of 10.5.
The Toronto bullpen, although it ranks second in the Majors with a 2.80 ERA, has had to throw 14 innings in this series.
So the Jays will shoot for a split of this four-game series when the teams meet Sunday afternoon (1:35 pm ET).
Sunday's Betting Odds
As of early Sunday AM most baseball betting outlets were listing Boston with Ryan Dempster at around -145 over Toronto with Mark Buehrle, with an OVER/UNDER of 10.
Sunday's Pitching Match-Up
Dempster (5-8, 4.15) is 8-for-16 on quality starts this season, and Boston is 7-9 in games he's started. Last time out he held the Rockies to two runs through six innings, giving him six straight outings in which he's gone at least six innings and allowed three runs or fewer.
Dempster has also pitched in a bit of tough luck this year; the Sox have lost Dempster starts by scores of 4-2, 4-2, 3-1 and 2-0.
For the season Dempster has allowed 85 hits in 95 1/3 innings, and struck out 94. But he's also walked 44 and been tagged for 17 homers, both of which are a bit too much.
Dempster has already started twice against Toronto this season; in the first game he gave up just one run through six innings of a 3-1 Boston victory back in early May; but 10 days later he got touched up for six runs in five innings of a 12-4 Sox loss.
Buehrle (4-5, 4.73) is only seven-for-16 on quality starts this season, but Toronto has won 10 of his 16 starts. Last time out he gave up four runs on eight hits and four walks against Tampa, but over his previous six starts he had allowed nine ER through 38 innings.
On the season the veteran lefty has given up 107 hits, including 13 dingers, in 97 innings, walked 29 and struck out 64.
Buehrle has already started twice against Boston this year; in the first outing he got nicked for five runs in 6 2/3 innings of a 10-1 Jays loss back on May 1; but 10 days later he held the Sox to one run through seven innings of a 3-2 Toronto victory.
Our Take on Sunday's Game
This is a tough one; the pitching match-up is close to even, and while Boston has an edge with the bats, Toronto has the edge between bullpens. So in going with the better price we'll take the Jays for our free MLB pick for Sunday.
By: Ron Patrick
Boston has taken the first two games of this four-game series, winning Friday night 7-5. The Sox grabbed an early 5-0 lead, then allowed Toronto to come back and tie the score, before scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh for the victory.
The Beantowners, to our chagrin, won as -110 chalk on Friday's MLB betting line, and the game, like Thursday's series opener, played OVER on the total.
The Red Sox lead the Majors in scoring, and they've been banging it around pretty good lately, plating 30 runs during their current four-game winning streak, rapping out 15 hits Friday night.
The Sox will throw lefty Felix Doubront (4-3, 4.33) Saturday afternoon (4 pm ET) against Esmil Rogers (3-3, 3.46) for Toronto.
Saturday's Betting Odds
As of Saturday AM most books were chalking Boston at around -150 over the Jays, with an OVER/UNDER of 10.5.
Saturday's Pitching Match-Up
Doubront, by our tough standards, is just 4-for-13 on quality starts this season. Last time out he gave up two earned runs in five innings against Detroit, walking four, while just before that he produced his best outing of the year, throwing eight shut-out innings against the Rays.
In five starts this month Doubront has allowed nine ER through 29 2/3 innings, and given up just one homer, all in lowering his ERA half a run.
For the season Doubront has given up 82 hits in 79 innings and struck out 76, but the 36 walks are a bit much.
Boston has won eight of Doubront's 13 starts this year.
In his one start earlier this year against Toronto Doubront gave up three ER and nine hits in five innings of a 6-4 Sox victory back in early April.
Last year Doubront went 1-for-4 on quality starts vs. the Jays, allowing 14 ER in 21 1/3 innings.
Rogers will be making his sixth start of this season, to go along with 23 relief appearances. Last time out he gave up four runs in six innings vs. Tampa, and over his four starts this month he's allowed eight ER through 23 2/3 innings.
For the season Rogers has permitted 52 hits in 54 2/3 innings, walked 17 and struck out 32. And Texas has won four of his five starts.
But Rogers has had problems with Boston this year; in four appearances vs. the Sox he's been nicked for six runs and six hits in just 2 1/3 innings.
Our Take on Saturday's Game
We give Doubront a small edge in the pitching match-up, and the Boston bats have been bopping. And how many times have we seen a team go on a long winning streak, like Toronto did recently, then fall flat for a series or two after that? So we’ll go with the Sox for our free MLB pick for Saturday.
By: Ron Patrick
We had a winner on our free MLB pick for Thursday as Jon Lester and Boston beat Toronto 7-4.
The Sox scored seven runs in the second inning Thursday night, and Lester pitched into the eighth to bump his record on the season to 8-4. He's also 3-1 against the Jays this year.
But Lester left the game after tweaking something in his upper leg area, so bettors might want to keep an eye on his status heading into his next start.
Toronto's bullpen, which ranks second in the Majors with a 2.75 ERA, held Boston scoreless over the last 6 1/3 innings Thursday night.
In an injury update Jays OF Melky Cabrera has been placed on the DL because of a sore knee.
Boston will send rookie Allen Webster (0-2, 11.25) to the mound for the second game of this series Friday night (7:10 pm ET) against Josh Johnson (1-2, 4.60) for Toronto.
Friday's MLB Betting Odds
As of early Friday AM most sportsbooks were listing Friday night's game at right around a pick 'em, with a total of 9.5 runs.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Webster, a righty, will be making his fourth career start in the Bigs, still looking for his first victory. So far he's allowed two runs in six innings vs. the Royals; eight runs in an inning and two-thirds against the Twins; and, last time out, five runs in less than five innings vs. the Tigers.
So on the season Webster has been tagged for 15 ER and five homers in just 12 innings, walked six and struck out 12.
Not surprisingly, the Sox have lost all three of Webster's starts.
This will be Webster's first-ever appearance vs. the Blue Jays.
Down at Triple-A Pawtucket this year Webster was pretty good, allowing 17 runs and just 29 hits through 51 innings, walking 22 while striking out 56. So apparently he's got some ability.
Johnson is just 3-for-8 on quality starts this season, but 2-for-4 since coming off the DL earlier this month. Last time out JJ gave up four runs in six innings vs. the Orioles, and over his last four starts he's allowed eight ER over 25 1/3 innings.
For the season Johnson has given up 51 hits in 45 innings, walked 16 and struck out 44.
Toronto lost five of Johnson's first six starts this season, but has won his last two.
Johnson has started once earlier this year against Boston, allowing three ER and nine hits in six innings of a 6-4 Jays loss back in April.
The OVER/UNDERS are a combined 8-3 in Webster and Johnson's starts this season.
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Our Take on Friday's Game
Johnson has been much better lately, while Webster has done little so far to inspire any confidence. And the Jays bullpen has been lights-out lately. So, we'll go with Toronto for our free MLB pick for Friday.
By: Ron Patrick
Toronto will try to stay hot, and make up some more ground in its divisional race, when it hits Boston for four games with the first-place Red Sox at Fenway, starting Thursday night (7:10 pm ET).
Where might we place our bets on this series?
Jays-Sox Betting Odds
As of Thursday morning most online sportsbooks were listing Boston and Jon Lester at around -175 over Toronto and Chien-Ming Wang, with an OVER/UNDER of 10. Most baseball books had opened the Red Sox at around -155, so apparently most of the early action was coming in on Boston.
Also, The Greek was chalking the Sox at -160 to win this series, based on the first three games, with the Jays getting +140.
Jays-Sox Series Set-Up
Two and a half weeks ago Toronto sat at nine games under .500; but thanks to an 11-game winning streak the Jays have pulled above the .500 mark and are finally living up to some of their early-season expectations.
Toronto did, however, just drop two of three games in Tampa this week, avoiding the sweep with a 3-0 victory Wednesday behind RA Dickey.
Boston, meanwhile, just swept two games at home from Colorado, winning Wednesday 5-3 behind John Lackey. But the Sox are only 6-7 while splitting their last four series.
So, Boston, at 47-33, leads the tough AL East by 3.5 games over both the Yankees and Orioles, while Toronto, at 39-38, sits in last place, 6.5 games back.
The Sox lead the season series with the Jays this year five games to four, with five of those games playing OVER on the totals.
Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
Lester (7-4, 4.57), by our tough standards, is just 5/16 on quality starts this season, and 0 for his last seven. Last time out he gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings vs. Detroit, and over his last three starts he's allowed 17 runs and 26 hits in 15 1/3 innings.
For the season Lester has given up 101 hits in 100 1/3 innings, walked 36 and struck out 83.
Boston won Lester's first five starts this year, but has lost six of his last 11.
Lester has already started three times this year against the Jays; in the first he held them scoreless through seven innings; in the second he got clipped for five ER in six innings; but the third was a beauty, a one-hit complete-game shutout back on May 10.
Wang (1-0, 2.18) spent most of this spring pitching in the Minors, but since getting called up by Toronto he's been pretty good. Last time out he held Baltimore to one unearned run through 6 1/3 innings, and just before that he threw seven scoreless innings against Texas.
In his three starts for the Jays this year Wang has allowed five ER and 21 hits through 20 2/3 innings, walked five but struck out just 10.
And the Jays have won all three of his starts.
This will be Wang's first start vs. Boston since 2009.
In the battle of the bullpens for this series Toronto ranks second in the Majors with a 2.81 ERA and has converted 19 of 27 save opportunities, while the Sox rank 23rd with a 4.07 ERA and have blown 11 of 25 save opps.
Jays-Sox Statistically Speaking
Boston leads the Majors in scoring this season at 5.1 runs per game, ranks ninth in homers with 85 and second in stolen bases with 62.
Toronto ranks second in homers with 100 and 10th in scoring at 4.6 RPG.
Jays-Sox Betting Trends
Boston is 25-15 at home this year.
Toronto is 17-21 on the road.
The OVER/UNDERS are 11-4 in Lester's starts this season.
The Jay are one game over .500 overall, but 9-12 vs. left-handed starters this year.
Jays-Sox Injury Update
Toronto just got some good news with the return of IF Jose Reyes, who had been on the DL because of that nasty ankle injury suffered back in April.
Our Take on Thursday's Game
Toronto comes in hot, while Boston has been treading water as of late. But we give Lester, based on his two very good performances vs. the Jays earlier this year, the edge in the pitching match-up over a very soft-tossing Wang. So while we rarely recommend giving such a high price we'll go with the Red Sox for our free MLB pick for Thursday.
We'll keep an eye on this series and provide updated pitching match-ups and more free sports picks at this page through the weekend.