The Boston Red Sox came into Toronto riding a hot June, but two losses against the Blue Jays in the series highlight a continued problem against divisional opponents this season.
After Toronto’s walk-off win over Boston on Tuesday, the Red Sox are now 7-16 against American League East opponents and have not won a series against divisional opponents this season. Their run differential is minus 23 against AL East teams but plus 82 against the rest of Major League Baseball, and the team ERA for Boston is 4.14 against AL East opponents compared to a 3.41 ERA against other MLB squads, stats per NESN’s postgame coverage.
The Red Sox have now lost six straight games against AL East opponents and four straight games against the Blue Jays. Through nine games, Boston holds a 2-7 record against Toronto averaging 2.9 runs per game, per NESN’s postgame coverage.
Boston’s bullpen was left short-handed due to Tanner Houck’s vaccination status. Tyler Danish was called upon in the eight inning and came in at the bottom of the ninth inning to earn his first career save. Danish was soon replaced by Hansel Robles, and neither relief pitcher could get an out in the inning. Manager Alex Cora stressed there was no effect the unvaccinated players had on this trip, and the Red Sox are capable with the players who traveled to Toronto.
Despite that, Boston had showed improvement on offense Tuesday. Trevor Story hit a home run in the top of the second inning — the first homer for the Red Sox against the Blue Jays this season, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.
“I think we did a good job staying off the middle,” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “(Rob Refsnyder), obviously, with a homer. Christian (Vázquez) going against a lefty, off the middle the other way. Felt like we controlled the at-bats.
“At one point in the game, we swung at the first pitch a few times, and we didn’t cash in, but we were able to slow down the game and put good at-bats. We did it yesterday towards the end of the game. Today, their guy (Ross Stripling) was good, but the pitch count was up, so we knew we had a chance against their bullpen, but it wasn’t enough.”
Here are more notes from Tuesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays
— The Red Sox headed into Tuesday leading the majors in hits (667) and doubles (176). They added to those totals with 10 hits and two doubles.
— Boston has now lost seven games this season in walk-off fashion. Its last walk-off loss was against the Seattle Mariners on June 11.
— The Red Sox have blown 14 saves this season, and relief pitcher Robles is, unfortunately, credited with four blown saves on the year. Heading into Tuesday, Robles held a 7.71 ERA in the ninth inning, per Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam.
— Rob Refsnyder was a huge bright spot for the Red Sox. The center fielder hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game and put Boston within reach of a win. Refsnyder has reached base in his first 13 games with the Red Sox. He becomes the first player to do so since Kevin Millar and Todd Walker did so in their first 16 Red Sox games in 2003, per The Boston Globe’s Speier.
— The Red Sox will hope to break its losing streak against the Blue Jays on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre, and full coverage of the game will be on NESN following an hour of pregame coverage.