Boston Red Sox (3-1) -102 at Toronto Blue Jays (1-2) -108, 7:15 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of Predictem.com
The Boston Red Sox continue their journey eastward toward home when they stop in Toronto this weekend for a three-game series with the Blue Jays beginning Friday night.
Baseball books list this game as a pick’em, with a total of nine.
Boston traveled from spring training in Florida to open its season with two games in Japan vs. Oakland. The Red Sox then hit LA for exhibitions games with the Dodgers, then went north for two more real games with the A’s in Oakland. Now the Sox are north of the border for three games in Toronto. Boston has won three of its first four games after shutting out the A’s 5-0 Wednesday, banging out 13 hits in the process.
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The Blue Jays opened their season with three games in New York, where they outscored the Yankees 9-8 but lost two of three, including a tough 3-2 decision Thursday night. Friday night’s game is Toronto’s home opener.
These two teams split 18 games last year. The o/u went 8-10 in those games, which averaged 9.4 total runs.
Toronto was one of the better home teams in the majors last year, going 49-32 at the Rogers Centre. Meanwhile, Boston was one of the best road teams, posting a 45-36 mark away from Fenway Park.
The Sox will send ageless knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (17-12, 4.76, 1.35 WHIP last season) to the hill Friday night against Shaun Marcum (12-6, 4.13, 1.25 WHIP last year) for the Jays.
Wakefield made five starts vs. Toronto last year, allowing 12 ER and 39 baserunners (hits + walks) in 32 IP. Boston went 3-2 in those games, while the o/u went 1-4.
Marcum started twice last season vs. the Sox, giving up five ER and 16 baserunners in 11 innings of work. The Blue Jays won both those games, and both games went over their totals.
So far this season, Boston has scored 14 runs on 38 hits in four games (all vs. Oakland), while Toronto has been held to nine runs and 24 hits in its three games, all vs. the Yankees.
The Red Sox bullpen has allowed four ER and 15 baserunners in 13 2/3 IP this season. On the other side, the Jays pen has allowed one ER and six baserunners in six IP this year. But Toronto is still without closer B.J. Ryan, who’s rehabbing a sore shoulder.
On the personnel front, Boston catcher Jason Varitek doesn’t usually catch Wakefield, and probably won’t be in Friday’s starting lineup.
The o/u went 74-83 in Red Sox games last year, and is 1-3 this season. On the other side of the ledger, the totals went 67-91 in Jays games last year, and is 0-3 this season.
And games played at the Rogers Centre averaged just 8.7 runs per game last year.
Zman’s Pick: I’m recommending Toronto at -108.