The Toronto Blue Jays will return to their home away from home Tuesday night when they play the Boston Red Sox in Buffalo to start a three-game series between teams that have been going in different directions.
The Red Sox won two of three games against the Blue Jays in Boston from Aug. 7-9. Since that first meeting of the season between the teams, the Blue Jays have emerged as potential playoff contenders.
A 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday gave the Blue Jays a split of the four-game series at Tropicana Field and moved them one game above .500 at 14-13. Toronto has won seven of its past nine games.
Randal Grichuk, who hit the go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh inning Monday, left the game in the eighth and is listed as day-to-day due to back tightness.
The Red Sox had Monday off after going 5-12 in a stretch of playing games on 17 consecutive days. They have dropped to 9-20 and figure to be sellers at the trade deadline.
The Red Sox spent most of Monday in Baltimore, where they split a four-game series with the Orioles, instead of in Buffalo because of constraints imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the restrictions that are put on us in Buffalo, I didn’t want guys to basically be locked up in their rooms for the whole day off,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said. “You can’t leave the hotel in Buffalo. (In Baltimore) it’s not like it’s just a free-for-all, but we have certain places we can go to here.”
The pandemic forced the Blue Jays to play their home games in Buffalo after the Canadian government ruled they could not have visiting teams arrive and play in Toronto.
Blue Jays right-hander Chase Anderson (0-0, 2.79 ERA) will start in the series opener against Red Sox left-hander Kyle Hart (0-1, 11.12 ERA).
Anderson, who opened the season on the injured list because of an oblique strain, allowed one run in three innings at Boston on Aug. 8. He is 0-0 with a 3.52 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox.
Hart has allowed seven walks over 5 2/3 innings in his first two major league starts.
“Unless you’re a strikeout pitcher, the walks are going to hurt you,” Roenicke said. “It’s really important for him to throw strikes, to get ahead in the counts so that he can start expanding. When you try to expand from the beginning and you walk people, you’re going to get in trouble.”
The Blue Jays have had to make adjustments to their pitching staff. Right-hander Trent Thornton (elbow inflammation) was placed on the 10-day IL Monday. They selected the contract of left-hander Travis Bergen, who was on their taxi squad, and left-hander Thomas Pannone was designated for assignment.
Bergen will work from the bullpen. He pitched 19 2/3 innings (2-0, 5.49 ERA) last season for the San Francisco Giants. He was selected by Toronto in the 2015 draft.
Toronto right-hander Matt Shoemaker (shoulder inflammation) went on the IL on Sunday.
The Blue Jays acquired first baseman/DH Daniel Vogelbach in a trade for cash considerations with the Seattle Mariners, who had designated him for assignment.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said the acquisition does not affect Rowdy Tellez, also a first baseman/DH.
“We are just looking for another bat to impact the lineup,” Montoyo said. “It has nothing to do with Rowdy.”
–Field Level Media