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Game 94: Blue Jays at Red Sox to kick off the second half

Unofficial second half of 69 games

Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Welcome back. The Red Sox are back in 4th place in the AL East 15.5 games back of the Yankees and 1.5 games ahead of, checked notes, the Baltimore Orioles. The Sox have gone from controlling the top Wild Card spot to lookup up at the Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners, and Toronto Blue Jays who would advance in their stead. The Sox need a net pf two games against the Jays just to tie them for the last spot, all else being equal. After going 19-4 the Sox went 6-14 to close out the unofficial first “half” of the season.

Yes, the Sox still haven’t won a series against an AL East opponent. With any luck that can end this weekend. With temperatures in the mid-to-upper 90s this weekend hopefully the bats can heat up as well.

This is the third time Toronto and Boston have met this season and it’s been all Jays. The Sox are just 3-7 against the Canadian birds.

With both Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero having their flaws Alex Cora has turned to Christian Vazquez for first base duties tonight. He’s currently third in OBP among American League catchers (.318) which puts him above the two first basemen. Kevin Plawecki in the lineup reduces this value a little.

In his first start back from the IL, Eovaldi went 4.1 innings, striking out 4 and allowing a 3-run HR that accounted for all the runs he gave up. With Chris Sale out again and possible for the season, the Sox need Eovaldi to step up and be the ace for the rest of the season. Lifetime he’s 102 against Toronto with a 4.11 ERA in ten starts. The Jays who have seen him have had success but no one in their lineup has more than 18 plate appearances against the righty. In his lone appearance against Toronto this season, Eovaldi went 7 innings, allowing 2 ER, while striking out 5. If the bats can get a piece of Kevin Gausman, and that’s a big if, that’s the kind of performance that could carry the day.

Game 94: Blue Jays at Red Sox

Lineup spot Blue Jays Red Sox
Lineup spot Blue Jays Red Sox
1 Raimel Tapia, CF Jarren Duran, CF
2 Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B Rafael Devers, 3B
3 Alejandro Kirk, DH J.D. Martinez, DH
4 Bo Bichette, SS Xander Bogaerts, SS
5 Teoscar Hernandez, RF Alex Verdugo, LF
6 Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF Christan Vazquez, 1B
7 Matt Chapman, 3B Kevin Plawecki, C
8 Santiago espinal, 2B Jackie Bradley, Jr. , RF
9 Danny Jansen, C Jeter Downs, 2B
SP Kevin Gausman, RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP