Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

TORONTO, CANADA: Brandon Morrow #23 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch during MLB game action against the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)

Didn't the Red Sox just play the Blue Jays? Who makes up these late-season schedules? I can't wait for 2027, when MLB decides to just have the Red Sox face the Blue Jays in 12-consecutive contests, complete with three separate flights to Toronto and back to split up the home/road bits.

The difference this time around is that Boston is now two games back of the Jays, and would have to sweep to regain their hold on fourth place that they lost the last time the Jays opposed them. Given the whole draft position thing, though, maybe fourth place shouldn't be the goal.

Game 1: Aaron Laffey (83-1/3 IP, 1.5 K/BB, 97 ERA+) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (35 IP, 2.1 K/BB, 61 ERA+)

Game 2: Carlos Villanueva (111-1/3 IP, 2.7 K/BB, 124 ERA+) vs. Clay Buchholz (167-2/3 IP, 2.1 K/BB, 98 ERA+)

Game 3: Brandon Morrow (99-2/3 IP, 3.0 K/BB, 136 ERA+) vs. Jon Lester (180-1/3 IP, 2.4 K/BB, 88 ERA+)

Aaron Laffey has thrown 83 innings in the majors this year. Of those, 21 percent have come against the Red Sox. He's just a hair below-average on the year overall, but against Boston in three starts, Laffey owns a 1.02 ERA. So tired of Aaron Laffey against Boston. Normally, Daisuke Matsuzaka is excellent against Toronto -- one of the only teams he's consistently been able to beat over the years -- but the last start was a disaster. Supposedly, it was for mechanical reasons which have seen been ironed out, but every Dice-K start for the last few years has had a lot of believe it when I see it attached, and this one is no different.

Villanueva and Buchholz had quite the match-up last time out, and there's no reason the pair can't do it again. Buchholz is 6-1/3 frames away from setting a new career-high in the majors for innings. However, his season-high when you combine the majors and minors together is 191, so it'll take some long outings before the year ends to even approach that.

Last, it's Brandon Morrow, against a Jon Lester who is likely very excited to get away from a patient Yankees' lineup. Lester managed to keep the Sox in the game last time out despite seven walks, but it would be good to not see him try to repeat that trick a second time. Morrow was out from mid-June until late-August, and Boston hasn't seen him yet since his return. He has pitched mostly well since then, logging a 3.68 ERA and a strikeout per inning, but has also allowed a .311/.357/.500 opponent line and .379 batting average on balls in play. Maybe his command isn't quite back 100 percent yet, and the Red Sox can take advantage.

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