Toronto vs. Boston Preview and Pick

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Toronto BlueJays vs. Boston Red Sox Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

Toronto (4-4) +130, o/u 10 at Boston (6-2), 7 p.m. Eastern
by Staff

The Boston Red Sox hope to build on their good start to this season when they take on the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday night in the rubber match of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox won five of six games on a season-opening road trip to Texas and Baltimore, and have split the first two games with Toronto 5-3 in their first home series. Boston leads the American League Central Division by two games over the Jays and the Yankees.

The Blue Jays went 3-3 on their season-opening homestand vs. Minnesota and Tampa Bay.

Toronto won the season series with Boston 11 games to seven last season. The over/under went 8-8-2. But Boston has won 13 of the last 19 games in the series with the Blue Jays played at Fenway Park.

Boston is 5-2 as chalk so far this season, while Toronto is 1-1 as underdogs.

After falling to the Red Sox in the series opener Tuesday, the Blue Jays beat Boston Wednesday 8-4, banging out 16 hits, to even this series at a game apiece.

Toronto is hitting a MLB-best .327 as a team this year, with 13 home runs. The Blue Jays have scored at least six runs in five of their eight games so far, which has helped the over go 5-2 in their games.

Toronto’s Thursday starter Ted Lilly had a rough outing his first time out this season, allowing three earned runs on four hits and six walks in just 2 1/3 innings pitched last week vs. Tampa Bay.

But Lilly has had success against the Red Sox. In five starts vs. Boston last year, Lilly allowed eight ER and 40 baserunners (hits + walks) in 30 IP. He also turned in two solid performances at Fenway Park in 2005, both Blue Jay wins.

In Lilly’s 25 starts last season, Toronto went 12-13, while the o/u went 14-11.

Thursday’s Boston starter Matt Clement took a shut-out into the seventh inning in his season debut last week vs. Baltimore, before allowing four runs in a 14-8 Red Sox win.

In Clement’s 31 starts last year, Boston went 22-11, and the o/u went 13-18.

Clement made four starts against the Blue Jays in ’05, allowing 21 ER and 41 BR in 22 2/3 IP.

The Toronto bullpen owns an unimpressive 5.47 ERA so far this season despite a .95 baserunners per inning ratio.

Red Sox relievers have combined for a 4.43 ERA this year and a 1.57 BR/IP ratio.

The vaunted Boston offense is hitting .277 so far in ’05, but the Red Sox have scored just 15 runs in their last four games. They did, however, hit three home runs Wednesday night.

Projected home-plate umpire Marvin Hudson called 35 games behind the plate in ’05. Those games averaged 10.0 runs per game, and the o/u went 19-14.

Boston OF Coca Crisp is on the disabled list with a hand injury.

Toronto 3B Troy Glaus limped noticeably during Wednesday night’s game, and with his injury history his status must be considered questionable.

The over is 3-4 in Red Sox games so far this season, but seven of Clement’s last nine starts at Fenway have gone over the total.

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The Pick: Toronto is a live dog here!

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