The Toronto Blue Jays have rediscovered the offensive form that carried them to the top of the AL East last month.
That doesn't bode well for the Boston Red Sox heading into a matchup with a right-hander who stymied them last week.The visiting Blue Jays will try to keep pushing across runs for rookie Marcus Stroman as they go for a ninth win in 11 games Tuesday night against the last-place Red Sox.Toronto (57-50) averaged 5.1 runs and hit 89 home runs on the way to a 38-24 start and a six-game lead in the division, before several key injuries slowed that attack while the team dropped 24 of the next 35.Although Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind remain sidelined, the Blue Jays have gotten their offense back on track by averaging 6.4 runs and hitting .323 with 12 homers in their last 10 games.Melky Cabrera homered twice and drove in five runs Monday and Ryan Goins set career highs with four hits and four RBIs as Toronto matched its season high run total in a 14-1 victory to open this three-game set.Cabrera has gone 18 for 40 with three home runs and 13 RBIs over his last 10 contests."The All-Star break did him some good," manager John Gibbons said. "From the looks of it right now, I think the All-Star break did us all some good."Toronto, seeking its fourth straight win, isn't likely to need a ton of scoring with Stroman (6-2, 3.21 ERA) on the mound.The 23-year-old is looking to extend a 14-inning scoreless streak as he faces the Red Sox for the second consecutive start. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning Thursday before allowing one hit over seven with seven strikeouts in an 8-0 victory.The 2012 first-round draft pick is 5-2 with a 2.21 ERA since joining the rotation in late May,"He's pitching like a veteran who has been around a long time," Gibbons told MLB's official website. "He has the great arm, he has the pitches and all that, but the big thing about him is that he is a great competitor."Boston's Brock Holt may not be looking forward to facing Stroman again since he fanned three times in as many at-bats against him last week. The rookie outfielder is also 1 for 23 with eight strikeouts in his last six games.After totaling 15 runs and hitting .159 with runners in scoring position while dropping six of seven, the Red Sox (48-58) are hoping to generate some offense for scheduled starter Rubby De La Rosa (3-3, 3.54).The right-hander had a dismal outing opposite Stroman on Thursday, surrendering a career-high seven runs and nine hits over four-plus innings at Rogers Centre.Toronto's Juan Francisco hit a home run and a triple off De La Rosa in that contest.De La Rosa, however, has been at his best at Fenway Park with a 3-0 record and a 1.38 ERA in four starts."It's a stark contrast," manager John Farrell said. "Clearly, he feels comfortable on the mound at Fenway and is able to channel the emotion and adrenaline inside Fenway Park."The Blue Jays made a move to bolster their short-handed infield on Monday, acquiring Danny Valencia from Kansas City. The 29-year-old, who spent time with Boston in 2012, is batting .282 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 36 games.
Marcus Stroman is limiting hitters to a .645 OPS in plate appearances to end with his fastball this season, which would rank seventh among qualified starters in MLB. Xander Bogaerts has a .661 OPS in plate appearances ending with a fastball this season, which is 99 points below the league average among qualified hitters.