Red Sox Need to Limit Homers From Thumping Blue Jays

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Red Sox Need to Limit Homers From Thumping Blue Jays About a week ago, the Red Sox' trip to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays figured to be significant for one team only. But the Blue Jays remain relevant in the wild-card race and are just four games behind Boston as the two teams prepare for three straight at the Rogers Centre.

Here are a few keys for Boston in the second stop on their three-city, 10-game tour.

Keep the Ball in the Park
Including their eye-popping eight home runs the other day against James Shields, the Jays continue to lead all of baseball in home runs (175) and extra-base hits (431).

Simply put, they beat you with power and pitching. If Red Sox pitchers can work effectively on the edge of the strike zone, making an impatient lineup jump at pitches off the plate, they will have success. It's one reason why Daisuke Matsuzaka has done so well against Toronto (6-1 lifetime). He is happy staying out of the strike zone, and the Jays are just as happy to chase it.

But make a mistake over the heart of the plate, and they can crush it.

Pedey Time
He won't return during the series, but the Dustin Pedroia watch will intensify in Toronto. He is expected to increase his workouts Tuesday with more running, hitting and fielding. Pedroia has indicated he would like to return next week during the Red Sox' nine-game homestand.

If the Jays do to the Sox what they did to the Rays this weekend, sweeping them in three straight, Boston can look to Pedroia's return as a reason for optimism.

Daytime Blues
Boston won in the afternoon on Monday in New York but remains just 13-18 in day games. The finale of the series begins at 12:37 p.m. on Wednesday and John Lackey, who has been one of the biggest culprits in the midday misery, will be the Red Sox' starter.

Lackey is 1-5 with a 6.86 ERA, 1.86 WHIP and .320 opponents' batting average in afternoon affairs. Given that it is the last game of the set before a daunting three-game series in Texas, it would be nice to have some better results.

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