The Red Sox enter their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays with a very thin margin for error. They haven?t gained a game in either the wild card or division race in several days and will need a lengthy winning streak to make a move at some point.
Perhaps the Blue Jays, who have struggled against Boston all season, will represent a good jumping off point. Here are a few keys to making that happen.
Call to Arms
The trio of scheduled starters — Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz — are a combined 6-0 with a 1.89 ERA against Toronto this season. While the Jays can slug with the best of them, they can be made to look pretty silly by quality pitchers who exploit their free-swinging ways.
The Red Sox have the perfect trio lined up for this one.
Keep an Eye on the Prize
Some of the Boston players admitted during the series that they are beginning to watch the scoreboard in the hope that New York or Tampa Bay stumble.
Not that this group of veterans would ever lose their focus, but it?s important to pay attention to the task at hand. This homestand is filled with winnable games against teams essentially playing out the string. A slip-up here would represent a missed opportunity.
Simply winning a series here and there will keep the Red Sox around but might not be enough to get them over the hump. At some point in the near future they need to win several games in a row.
The mantra always says to take it one game at a time, but taking two out of three, such as they did against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to begin the homestand, could make it very difficult to ever crawl out of this hole.
Boston has already swept Toronto once this year and has flirted with doing so on two other occasions. Now would be a good time to dominate an inferior team.