A night after clinching their first playoff berth since September 30, 2009, the Boston Red Sox have punched their way into the Major League Baseball playoffs after three disappointing seasons without reaching October baseball.
With their weekend home series against the Toronto Blue Jays starting tonight, Boston also has the chance to clinch their first American League East division title since 2007. Currently, the team is 3-3 on their current nine game homestand.
The Red Sox will catch a break this series in the quest to win the AL East as both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista are out for the season with injuries so the Blue Jays will have guys including Brett Lawrie, Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus hit in Encarnacion and Bautista’s normal spots in the lineup.
It is expected that the Red Sox could get more of their bench players playing time this series if they clinch tonight. Guys such as John McDonald, Quintin Berry, Ryan Lavarnway, Brock Holt, among others could pave the way for rest for Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino, David Ortiz and more.
Also pitchers including Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa could get more rest from the bullpen perspective if the Red Sox clinch tonight or on Saturday. That could pave the way for pitchers Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Steven Wright and Drake Britton to get into some games during the final five game road trip next week.
Pitching Matchups for Series
9/20 Esmil Rogers (5-7 4.47 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (14-8 3.75 ERA) 7:10 pm
9/21 Mark Buehrle (11-9 4.17 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (11-0 1.51 ERA) 7:10 pm
9/22 R.A. Dickey (13-12 4.21 ERA) vs. Felix Doubront (10-6 4.15 ERA) 1:35 pm
Red Sox vs. Toronto at home in 2013: Boston is 5-2 at Fenway Park this season vs. the Blue Jays. Overall this year, the Red Sox are 10-6 against Toronto.
Jon Lester chasing team history: If Lester beats the Blue Jays on Friday night, he will become just the 11th pitcher in Red Sox history to win at least 100 games or more with the organization.