The Blue Jays open up a four game set at Fenway Park in Boston on Jackie Robinson Day against the last place Red Sox. I had to describe the Red Sox as last place as I really don’t think this will hold for long.
The Red Sox have struggled out of the gate but the team is stacked and its a 162 game season. They’ll get back on track soon enough. I’m just hoping it’s not this weekend.
That being said, things look good for the Red Sox this weekend. As a result of a rainout in Baltimore, they’ve had two days off to rest and because of the extra day off they got to skip John Lackey’s turn in the rotation. As a result, the Blue Jays get to face Buchholz in game one, Beckett in game two, Jon Lester in game three, and Matsusaka in game four. The Jays are countering with a struggling Brett Cecil in game one, Reyes in game two, Litsch in game three and Romero in game four.
Buchholz has pitched well against the Jays in the past but sports a 7.20 ERA heading into tonight’s game. That coincidentally is Brett Cecil’s ERA as well. So you have two starters who both had impressive 2010 campaigns but struggling so far in 2011. It should be interesting tonight to see if either of these two pitchers regain their 2010 form.
For the rest of the series there appears to be pitching mismatches. Saturday and Sunday appear to favour the Red Sox with Beckett and their ace Jon Lester throwing against Reyes and Litsch respectively. Beckett looked horrible in his first start but then looked like his old self against the Yankees last week. Lester is a Cy Young contender and will be tough to beat. So I give the edge to the Red Sox for these two days.
Monday sees a Romero vs. Matsusaka matchup with definitely favours the Blue Jays. Matsusaka has been anything but impressive this year. Romero has been lights out in his three starts.
The Red Sox lineup is as impressive as any despite the team’s early struggles. Adrian Gonzalez just inked an new contract extension so he’ll be ready to live up to that contract to the Red Sox faithful. Another newcomer is of course, Carl Crawford. Crawford is struggling but the Jays have seen him enough times in Tampa to know what he can do. These two added to an already formidable lineup that includes the likes of Pedroia, Youkilis, and Ellsbury. Also given how well the Red Sox play at home in Fenway (to me, the biggest home field advantage in the majors), it’s going to be a tough series.
To me, if the Jays come out of this series at 2 and 2, it will be a success and anything more would be a bonus.