The Toronto Blue Jays have had a rough week. They’ve lost two out of three to the Boston Red Sox to fall another game back in the standings and the other teams in the AL East Division are making moves. While the Red Sox haven’t made a big splash yet, the Tampa Bay Rays added Nelson Cruz and the New York Yankees added Joey Gallo.
Gaining a split at Fenway Park would soften the blow a little bit and that is what the Jays will attempt to do on Thursday night in Boston. The line shows the Red Sox as a slight favorite in the -115 range at BetUS Sportsbook with a total of 10 in the battle between Hyun Jin Ryu and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays sit 10.5 games back of the Red Sox after yesterday’s doubleheader split with 4-1 wins each way. They are only 4.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, but the Oakland A’s also made an upgrade yesterday by acquiring Starling Marte. The Jays will return home to Rogers Centre after this game for the first time since 2019, but may do so only one game above .500.
In a lot of respects, this is a pretty big game for Toronto. The division is likely a pipe dream, but with mere hours left before the Trade Deadline after this game, the team should upgrade on the pitching side. Maybe the front office doesn’t believe that using prospects or other assets on this team is a good idea right now.
We’ll have to wait and see, but going back home to Rogers Centre on a high note would be nice for Toronto. This is an offense that ranks second in wOBA, but a big portion of that success has come in “home” ballparks in Dunedin and Buffalo. The road has been less kind to the Jays, though they still rank in the top six in road production because most other teams have low outputs.
Hyun Jin Ryu brings a 3.44 ERA and a 3.87 FIP into this start. The 34-year-old southpaw has worked 110 innings across 19 starts this season. He’s had some regression to the mean this season, as his K% has fallen to below 20% for the first time since 2016. He’s also allowed a lot more hard contact, but has mostly been able to pitch around it with a 77% LOB% and a .284 BABIP. His Hard Hit% of 41.3% is the highest he has had in the Statcast era and he has set a new high mark in Barrels allowed.
Boston Red Sox
Eduardo Rodriguez will hope to stay on the right path for the Red Sox. Their 28-year-old southpaw has an ugly 5.23 ERA, but has a 3.51 FIP and a 3.34 xFIP, so he is a positive regression candidate through and through. E-Rod has a 65.8% LOB% and a .355 BABIP against, so he’s fallen on the wrong side of both luck and variance more often than not this season.
What is so crazy about Rodriguez’s season is that, while he has allowed 14 home runs, he only has a 35.5% Hard Hit%. That is a career high for him, but still far better than the league average in that metric. He certainly doesn’t deserve a .355 BABIP for his troubles. His 27.4% K% is the highest of his career. He has allowed five runs on 14 hits in 17.2 innings in the month of July, so it would seem that his better fortunes may have finally arrived.
It isn’t like Rodriguez, or any other Red Sox starter, has to be that great in order to give the team a chance. That is because the Red Sox have a top-five offense in baseball. Fenway Park is conducive to offense and the Sox are a top-five unit there as well. They make a lot of contact and a lot of quality contact at that. They’re also much more aggressive at home, so they’ve been able to use the park to their advantage in that regard.
The Red Sox are 33-21 at home and 22-15 against left-handed starters this season. The Blue Jays are 11-16 against southpaw starters, but are 28-26 at home. Even with all of their offensive successes at home, the Jays are just 22-22 in that split.
Blue Jays vs. Red Sox Free Pick
You have to look at Boston again today. The Red Sox have a pitcher trending in the right direction in Rodriguez and a guy that shows a lot of positive signs moving forward. The Blue Jays have a guy in Ryu that hasn’t seemed fully healthy of late and has been allowing a lot of hard contact, which has been exacerbated by the decreased strikeout rate. The Red Sox are the pick for tonight.