Major League Baseball

Red Sox, building momentum, face struggling Jays

RED SOX (25-22) AT BLUE JAYS (19-28)
7:07 p.m. ET, SN1, NESN, MLB.TV

The Boston Red Sox, who are 19-9 in their past 28 games, will continue their quest to prove that their early-season struggles are behind them when they oppose the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

The Red Sox took the opener of the four-game series Monday afternoon at Toronto, 12-2, outhitting the Blue Jays 16-3.

Boston will start left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 4.89 ERA) on Tuesday while Toronto will pitch right-hander Marcus Stroman (1-6, 2.95 ERA).

It is quite a contrast from the first time the teams met this season, a two-game series at Fenway Park in April.

The defending World Series champion Red Sox had opened their season with an 11-game road trip, going 3-8.

The Red Sox dropped to 3-9 when they lost their home opener to the Blue Jays on April 9, but after an off day, they came back to eke out a split in the series on a walk-off single by Rafael Devers.

By April 28, the Blue Jays were 14-14, and the Red Sox were 11-17, but the teams have gone in opposite directions since.

In the 19-9 run, Boston owns a plus-74 run differential (173-99) after having a season-worst minus-42 differential to that date.

“We have a great team,” Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes said. “I know we started off slow, but the last three to four weeks, we’ve been right there with some of the best teams in baseball,” Barnes said. “We’re very confident in what we can do, what we’ve been able to do in turning it around and moving forward.”

The Red Sox did all their damage Monday without J.D. Martinez, who was given the day off.

The Blue Jays are 5-13 in May after going 14-15 in March-April.

Blue Jays rookie third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was given a scheduled day off Monday, despite hitting four home runs on the team’s 3-3 road trip to San Francisco and Chicago and being named American League Player of the Week.

“Everybody’s going to get a day off anyway, 16 straight days (with games), so today was Vlad’s,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

He will be back in the lineup Tuesday.

Toronto also was without infielder Eric Sogard because of a sprained left thumb. Richard Urena had been scheduled to play left field Monday, but he played second base with Sogard out.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox got two hits including a two-run homer from rookie infielder Michael Chavis. He has nine homers and 24 RBIs since making his debut April 20, and he is batting .296 with an on-base mark of .389 and a .592 slugging percentage.

“You see a little bit of a glimpse of what we’re capable of,” Chavis said after the game Monday. “I wouldn’t say we’re hot yet. I think things are going the right way for sure. You can see the vibe in the dugout.”

Chavis, usually a third baseman who has been playing second with Boston, made an error in the second inning Monday. He said it was only his second game playing on artificial turf and that he intends to take extra grounders before the game Tuesday.

In two starts against Boston last season, Stroman was 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts covering 12 innings. He is 4-3 with a 3.87 ERA in 12 career starts against Boston.

Rodriguez is 4-0 with a 3.46 ERA in his past seven starts this season.

In four starts against Toronto last season, he was 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in four starts covering 24 2/3 innings. In 12 career outings (11 starts) against the Blue Jays, he is 3-3 with a 4.34 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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