Major League Baseball
Preview
Boston at Toronto
When: 7:07 PM ET, Friday, May 27, 2016
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Blue Jays have a chance to cut into Boston's lead atop the American League East when they host the Red Sox on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series. Toronto, which is returning home following a 5-2 road trip, will square off with the Red Sox six times over the next nine games.

The Blue Jays will be hoping for better results than their last home series, when they were outscored 31-7 in a three-game mauling by Tampa Bay. Edwin Encarnacion, who went 3-for-7 with three RBIs in back-to-back wins over the New York Yankees, has hit safely in all seven games while driving in seven runs against Boston this season. The Red Sox had their four-game winning streak halted in an 8-2 loss to Colorado on Thursday, but still own the best record (29-18) in the AL and lead the majors in runs scored (276). Jackie Bradley Jr. had his 29-game hitting streak snapped Thursday, but David Ortiz belted a two-run homer to give him 11 RBIs in the last four games and the major-league lead with 45.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), Sportsnet One (Toronto)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Joe Kelly (2-0, 5.28 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Aaron Sanchez (4-1, 3.20)

Kelly returned from a monthlong stint on the 15-day disabled list by taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Cleveland before leaving two outs later after giving up a hit while striking out seven. Kelly has a chance to erase the memory of an ugly season debut in Toronto, when he was pelted for seven runs on seven hits over three-plus innings. Josh Donaldson has tormented Kelly, going 9-for-17 with a homer and six RBIs.

Sanchez will be well rested after the Blue Jays opted to push him back a day to start the series against the Red Sox, who managed only one run and two hits in seven innings against him in Boston on April 17. Sanchez pitched seven innings for the sixth time in nine starts in his last turn, limiting Minnesota to two runs on eight hits. Ortiz is 4-for-8 against Sanchez, who owns a 3-1 record and 2.36 ERA versus the Red Sox.

WALK-OFFS

1. Blue Jays SS Troy Tulowitzki (right quadriceps) missed the last two games but is expected to return to the lineup Friday.

2. Ortiz is 11-for-19 with two homers, six doubles and the 11 RBIs during his five-game hitting streak.

3. Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista had a hearing Thursday for his appeal of a one-game suspension for a fracus in Texas.

PREDICTION: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Boston 29-18 L1 18-10 11-8 10-9 6-5 8-2 5-2
Toronto 24-25 W2 9-13 15-12 12-14 3-4 6-4 3-3
Last Meeting
Boston Toronto
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/18/16 TOR 4 BOS 3 .219 0 .586 .267 0 .688
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Boston T. Shaw .348 8 1.116
Toronto E. Encarnacion .357 10 .974
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Boston X. Bogaerts 1 7 4
Toronto J. Bautista 3 6 7
Pitching ERA Avg K
Boston 3.92 .248 66
Toronto 4.13 .241 58
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Boston X. Bogaerts .347 67 .909
Toronto M. Saunders .306 49 .933
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Boston D. Ortiz 12 24 45
Toronto J. Donaldson 11 37 24
Pitching ERA Avg K
Boston 4.06 .296 418
Toronto 3.62 .233 359