HEADLINE

Blue Jays in position to take series vs. Red Sox

Field Level Media

July 04, 2019 at 8:23 am.

The Toronto Blue Jays have a chance to win their second straight home series Thursday night when they play the Boston Red Sox in the rubber match of a three-game set.

The Blue Jays, who took the second game of the series 6-3 Wednesday night, also have a chance for their second successive series win over the Red Sox. Toronto took two of three in Boston June 21-23.

Toronto opened the 10-game homestand by winning three of four from the Kansas City Royals.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to start right-hander Marcus Stroman (5-9, 3.18 ERA) Thursday, with Boston to start right-hander Hector Velazquez (1-3, 5.31).

Stroman’s start remained in doubt, however. He left his outing Saturday after two pitches in the fifth inning because of a left shoulder pectoral cramp. The Blue Jays said then that he would probably make his next start.

“We’re going to talk about it,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said after the game Wednesday. “If he doesn’t start tomorrow, it will probably be (Thomas) Pannone. We’re going to take our time with Stroman. He throws 200 innings a year so there’s no reason to rush him. We want to make sure he’s 100 percent.”

Stroman, besides being Toronto’s All-Star Game representative, is the subject of trade rumors.

He has won both his starts against the Red Sox this season, allowing one run over a total of 12 innings. He is 6-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 14 career starts against Boston.

Velazquez will be making his eighth start in 21 outings this season.

He is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two relief outings against Toronto this season covering a combined two innings. He has 11 career relief outings against Toronto, going 3-0 with a 1.15 ERA.

As a starter this season, he is 1-3 with a 6.41 ERA. He is 3-6, 5.04, in 18 career starts.

By taking the series, the Blue Jays could avenge a series loss the previous time the teams met in Toronto, May 20-23, when the Red Sox took three of four. The teams split two in Boston April 9-11.

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers will be trying to extend his hit streak to eight games Thursday. He kept the streak alive Wednesday with a two-run single in the third inning, and went 1-for-4. He is batting .516 (16-for-31) during his streak with seven doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs.

“He’s consistent with what he’s doing,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “He’s dominating the strike zone, he’s playing good defense, he’s a good base-runner, he’s a complete player, and he’s only 22. So I’m just glad we were patient with him. We know there are times that he’s going to be 22, but overall, he’s one of the best third basemen in the big leagues and he’s showing it on a nightly basis.”

“I feel good,” Devers said. “Overall, I haven’t changed anything. I’ve always remained aggressive, and this has just always been the way I play.”

The Blue Jays reinstated right-hander Jacob Waguespack (shoulder strain) from the injured list Wednesday and optioned right-hander Sean Reid-Foley to Triple-A Buffalo.

Waguespack, who went on the IL May 28, made three rehabilitation outings for Buffalo and allowed three runs over 9 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs in five relief innings Wednesday to earn his first major league win.

The Blue Jays played their second straight game without outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, who has a strained right shoulder.