Every game matters for certain teams after the trade deadline, and Friday night’s matchup between the Blue Jays and Red Sox is part of a critical series for both teams. Toronto and Boston might end up battling for one wild card spot, and this series could turn out to be the difference when the season ends. The Red Sox are home favorites at -155 on the moneyline in Friday’s matchup.
Let’s make predictions for Friday’s game and take a look at why bettors should ride James Paxton’s hot hand.
Blue Jays vs. Red Sox Prediction
There is still too much risk associated with Alek Manoah to go with the Blue Jays in an environment like this.
The Red Sox are hitting better than .290 at home, and Triston Casas’ development has made their lineup even more dangerous. Manoah has looked better lately, but his control issues are still lingering. If he gives a Boston offense that doesn’t walk often some free passes, the night could unravel quickly for him.
James Paxton dominated the Blue Jays in his last start, and Toronto hasn’t shown an ability to mash their way to wins with home runs alone. Paxton keeps hits to a minimum, and the Blue Jays don’t have their best contact hitter with Bo Bichette out. The Red Sox’ solid bullpen is also fully rested after a day off.
Betting the Red Sox’ moneyline would be easier if there was more value on the line, but Under 10 Runs is a viable alternative. Paxton has proven he can handle a Blue Jays offense missing its biggest piece. As much as Manoah has looked unsteady, he seems to have collected himself enough to avoid a blowup.
Blue Jays vs. Red Sox Prediction: Red Sox Moneyline (-155), Under 10 Runs (-108)
Blue Jays vs. Red Sox Odds
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The Red Sox enter as pretty decisive home favorites at -155 on the moneyline. The over/under is 10 runs.
It’s not hard to see why the Red Sox are favored in this home matchup, but the Blue Jays have played well enough on the road that it may not be the best value. The over/under mark of 10 runs is on the high side, and whether the over hits depends on what Toronto gets out of Alek Manoah?
Blue Jays vs. Red Sox Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Blue Jays vs. Red Sox.
Alek Manoah’s Control Issues vs. Red Sox Lineup
Alek Manoah has generally looked better since returning from the minors, but control continues to be his biggest vulnerability. He’s walked 12 batters in his last three starts, including three in only 4.1 IP his last time out, and is walking 6.3 batters per nine innings this season.
The Red Sox don’t walk often. They’re 24th in the league at 3.09 walks per game, with Triston Casas one of their only regulars with a decent walk rate. While Boston hits dramatically better at home, walks are only up very slightly at Fenway Park.
A wild Manoah would give the Red Sox a huge advantage in what’s already a hitter-friendly environment for that lineup, but if this is the start when Manoah gets himself under control, he’ll at least give himself and the Blue Jays a chance. That’s a risky proposition.
Blue Jays’ Contact Bats vs. James Paxton
Paxton has been a bit of a revelation for the Red Sox this season, emerging as one of their top starters after three injury-riddled years with only a handful of meaningful innings. His best start might’ve come against the Blue Jays in June, when he tossed 7.2 shutout innings.
Toronto had just three hits and didn’t manage a single extra-base hit, letting Paxton go deep into the game despite his injury history. Paxton has limited hits well throughout his career, and it’s going to be even tougher for the Blue Jays to string hits together without Bo Bichette in the lineup.
The pressure will be on Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Whit Merrifield, and the Blue Jays’ other contact bats to get on base and make Paxton work this time around. Unlike previous years, this Blue Jays lineup can’t just rely on home runs and won’t be able to skate by without some hits on Friday.
Blue Jays vs. Red Sox Starting Lineups
Blue Jays Starting Lineup
2B Whit Merrifield R
DH Brandon Belt L
1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. R
RF George Springer R
3B Matt Chapman R
C Danny Jansen R
LF Daulton Varsho L
SS Paul DeJong R
CF Kevin Kiermaier L
Red Sox Starting Lineup
LF Jarren Duran L
2B Justin Turner R
DH Masataka Yoshida L
3B Rafael Devers L
1B Triston Casas L
CF Adam Duvall R
RF Alex Verdugo L
C Connor Wong R
SS Yu Chang R