Blue Jays look to finally beat Red Sox on 8th try

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Jul 29, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah (6) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning at Rogers Centre.
Jul 29, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah (6) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning at Rogers Centre.
Image: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox will look to continue their dominance over the visiting Toronto Blue Jays when the American League wild-card contenders open a three-game series on Friday

Boston has won each of the seven meetings between the teams this season, and outscored Toronto 49-29 in those games. The Red Sox scored at least five runs in each of those contests, four of which were played in Boston


The Red Sox lost 16 of their 19 games against the Blue Jays last season

Friday's game will be the start of a 10-game homestand for the Red Sox, who have a 30-23 record at home this season. Boston is coming off a 2-4 road trip during which it took two walk-off losses and squandered a 3-0 lead in a 6-3 setback against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday


"Tough one," Boston manager Alex Cora said after the latest defeat. "We're going home and we got a good stretch coming up. Two walk-off losses (at San Francisco) and two tough games here. So we didn't play terrible baseball, but it just didn't happen. We'll be ready for Friday.

Toronto's 6-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday was the Blue Jays' fourth setback in five games

Right-hander Alek Manoah (2-8, 5.87 ERA) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Blue Jays on Friday

Manoah is still trying to regain the form that made him an American League All-Star and a Cy Young Award finalist in 2022, when he went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in 31 starts. He was sent to the minors this season after going 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA in his first 13 starts


Manoah may have to overcome another obstacle as his last outing ended after he hit Los Angeles Angels outfielder Taylor Ward in the head with a fastball in the fifth inning on Saturday. Ward sustained facial fractures and ended up on the 60-day IL, likely ending his season

Manoah seemed rattled on the mound as Ward was being examined by medical personnel near home plate


"That's probably the worst feeling ever," Manoah said following the game. "Definitely want to pray for him and his family. That's the last thing you want to do, no matter the situation, no matter the team, no matter anything. I feel really bad about it.

Manoah has pitched well against Boston during his career, going 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA in seven starts (42 innings) against the Red Sox. The loss came earlier this season, when he allowed five runs (two earned) on eight hits in five innings of Boston's 8-3 victory on May 3


Left-hander James Paxton (6-2, 3.34 ERA) is Boston's probable starter. The 34-year-old Canadian is 6-3 with a 3.98 ERA in 11 career starts against the Blue Jays, producing 55 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings

Paxton was the winning pitcher when Boston beat Toronto 5-0 on June 30. He limited the Blue Jays to three hits and two walks while striking out seven in 7 2/3 innings


Infielder Justin Turner didn't play in Boston's past two games because of a heel contusion, but Cora said he hopes Turner can play on Friday

--Field Level Medi