|11:05 AM PT12:05 PM MT1:05 PM CT2:05 PM ET14:05 ET18:05 GMT2:05 11:05 AM MST1:05 PM EST1:35 PM VEN22:05 UAE1:05 PM CT, April 9, 2019
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts Attendance: 36,179
Red Sox, finally at Fenway, unworried by slow start
Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
- Toronto was swept in Cleveland and is now 0-4 on the road this season. Since last season, the Blue Jays have posted a 5.26 ERA on the road, third worst in baseball.
- The Red Sox beat the Diamondbacks on Sunday, 1-0, their first game this season in which their starting pitching did not allow a run (Hector Velazquez went only 3.0 innings). Boston's 8.57 season ERA from its starters is currently the highest by any team's starters in MLB.
- The Red Sox went 15-4 against the Blue Jays last season, outscoring them, 108-77. It is their second-best record against Toronto in a non-strike season, behind only 1977 (12-3), the Blue Jays' first-ever season.
- Randal Grichuk has six extra-base hits this season (three doubles, three home runs) but no singles. He joins Ronald Guzman as the only players in MLB with at least five extra-base hits and no singles.
- Sunday was the first game in which J.D. Martinez did not get a hit. His 10-game hitting streak was the longest by a Red Sox player to start a season since David Ortiz in 2013 (15).
- Chris Sale posted a 0.30 ERA in July and August last season as his fastball averaged 96.9 miles per hour. Since then, he has a 5.57 ERA in the regular season and his fastball has averaged 92.1 miles per hour.
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The Boston Red Sox will enter their home opener Tuesday afternoon with the same 3-8 record as their opponent, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Yet, the World Series defending champions have reason for optimism while the Blue Jays are rebuilding and can expect more of the same.
The Red Sox had an 11-game trip to open their season and it ended Sunday positively with a 1-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Blue Jays played their first seven games at home before being swept in a four-game series by the Indians at Cleveland.
"One thing for sure, we're not going to get caught up in the, 'If you win it's a relief, and if you lose it's life and death.' We don't play that here in this clubhouse," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "We won, we enjoyed it. We know where we're going, we know how we are. We know we have to get better. We learned a lot on this road trip and now it's over. Hopefully, when we talk about this road trip a few months from now we can look back and say, 'You know what? It was a learning experience that made us better.'?"
The Blue Jays struck out 57 times in Cleveland, the second-highest total in team history for a four-game series. They have 64 hits, the fewest in team history, through 11 games.
"I'm not going to insult your intelligence," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said after the 3-1 loss Sunday. "Our approach has not been really good. I'm not going to sugarcoat it, it's been really bad. But I promise you one thing. We're going to work on it and we're going to continue to work on it until we get out of this slump we're in right now."
Both teams had Monday off. The Blue Jays will start right-hander Matt Shoemaker (2-0, 0.00 ERA) Tuesday while the Red Sox will go with left-hander Chris Sale (0-2, 8.00).
Shoemaker, signed as a free agent in the offseason, has been brilliant so far after Toronto.
In two starts, he has allowed a total of four hits and three walks while striking out 15 over 14 innings.
He has faced the Red Sox three times (two starts) in his career and is 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA. Both starts were at Fenway Park, where he is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA. He did not face Boston in 2018.
Sale is 7-3 with a 2.28 ERA in 15 career games (12 starts) against the Blue Jays. Last season, he was 1-0 with a 3.35 ERA in three starts against Toronto.
Sale is off to a slow start this season and his velocity is down.
Last season, his four-seam fastball was 97 miles per hour. In his second start this season, April 2, his velocity was down to an average of 89 and in his first start, March 28, it was 92.3. He has not had a swing and a miss on the 49 four-seamers he has thrown in his two starts.
Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie told reporters during the trip that the velocity is not concerning.
"You guys want him to pitch the whole year, or do you want him to go out and throw 100 right now and not be there for his team?" LeVangie said. "He's building. He had a long last year. He's building up to be the guy he wants to be. He started last year similar. We're getting to that point, but just not right now."
--Field Level Media
Updated April 8, 2019