Jays' Jose Berrios on roll ahead of start vs. Red Sox

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Jul 24, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Jose Berrios (17) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium.
Jul 24, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Jose Berrios (17) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium.
Image: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The visiting Toronto Blue Jays will try to increase their lead over the host Boston Red Sox in the American League wild-card race when the teams play the middle game of a three-game series on Saturday afternoon

Toronto moved three games ahead of Boston in the battle for the final wild-card spot by beating the Red Sox 7-3 Friday night. The Blue Jays hit five solo home runs but continued to struggle with runners in scoring position


Toronto owns a .235 batting average and a .671 OPS with runners in scoring position, with both stats ranking 28th among the 30 major league teams. The Blue Jays were 2-for-29 in that category in a four-game series against Baltimore earlier this week before going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Friday

"We're trying not to talk about it too much," Blue Jays manager John Schneider told Sportsnet 590. "Guys are aware of it. They're aware of all those stats. ... I think they're trying not to harp on it. They're trying to move on from it and get better at it. So having a consistent approach is definitely a thing that has been here and there with us sometimes


"Trying not to dwell on those and trying to move on from them is what we're doing. And I think the way we have to do it is to come up with a very convicted approach as a team and stick to it. ... We have to stick to it for 27 outs.

Toronto entered the Friday game 0-7 against the Red Sox this season. The victory improved the Blue Jays' record against teams in the American League East to 9-23

"They're a good offense -- really good," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "They played a good game, we didn't -- that's the bottom line. We have to get ready for (Saturday).

Jose Berrios (8-7, 3.31 ERA) is scheduled to start for Toronto on Saturday. The right-hander has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his past five starts and has a 1.84 ERA during that span -- but he didn't get a win in any of those outings


He gave up a run on six hits in six innings during Toronto's 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday but didn't factor into the decision

Berrios allowed four runs on five hits in six innings and took the loss when Boston beat Toronto 5-0 on June 30. Three of the hits he gave up were home runs. He struck out eight and didn't walk a batter


Berrios is 1-6 with a 4.31 ERA in 12 career starts against the Red Sox

John Schreiber (1-1, 3.74) will serve as the opener for Boston on Saturday. He has made one start in 22 appearances this season. In his most recent outing, Schreiber took his first loss of the year after allowing four runs in his lone inning during a relief outing against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday


In nine career outings against the Blue Jays, all out of the bullpen, Schreiber has no decisions and a 0.00 ERA in 10 innings. He threw a combined 2 2/3 innings against Toronto in outings on May 2 and May 4

The Red Sox designated infielder Christian Arroyo for assignment before the Friday game. That move made room on the roster for Luis Urias, who was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers at the trade deadline. Urias went 1-for-3 with a walk and scored a run in the Friday loss


"Pablo (Reyes) is more versatile than Arroyo," Cora said. "That's basically what happened. Obviously Arroyo has been great for us. He's a good kid. Up-and-down season. ... One thing about him, he can play second base. Obviously we'll miss him. We'll see what the future holds, and we'll go from there.

--Field Level Medi