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Series Preview: One last time against the reigning champions

Entering this series, this will be the final time this season that the Blue Jays will be facing off against the Red Sox. While the Blue Jays have very little to play for during this series, the Red Sox are still trying to surge back into the Wild Card race. But, those bums from Boston currently sit eight games behind the Athletics for the second Wild Card spot.

For the Blue Jays, they’re coming off a miserable six-game road trip where they lost every single game. With just 18 games remaining, the Blue Jays will need to finish the season with a record of at least 8-10 to avoid losing 100 games for the first time since 1979.

Tuesday at 7:07 ET

While T.J. Zeuch made his MLB-debut against the Braves back on Sep 3., he will now be making his first official start in the major leagues during this game. During his latest outing, Zeuch entered the game from the bullpen during the second inning and held the Braves to just two runs on three hits over four innings of work.

The Blue Jays thought they could put Zeuch in an easier situation to succeed if they used Wilmer Font during the first inning. But, that plan went straight down the drain after he surrendered two runs on four hits during the first inning of the game. So, the former 1st-round pick by the Blue Jays back in 2016 will now get an opportunity to showcase himself against one of the best offenses in the AL.

This will be just the fifth game that Nathan Eovaldi has started since returning from his lengthy IL stint. Through his four previous starts, the 29-year-old just hasn’t looked like the same pitcher who dominated during last year’s postseason. As a starter, Eovaldi has allowed a combined nine walks and three home runs since being activated from the IL.

Eovaldi’s latest start against the Twins was also the first time he’s pitched a full five innings since returning to the Red Sox’s rotation. However, Eovaldi did give up four walks during that start which prevented him from pitching even deeper into the game. If the Red Sox are going to have any kind of a chance to return to the playoffs, they’ll need Eovaldi to be able to command the strike zone once again.

Wednesday at 7:07 ET

Attacking the strike zone was an issue for Trent Thornton once again during his latest outing against the Rays. While pitching at the ugliest stadium in the league, Thornton gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits (three doubles) during his four and 2/3 innings of work. For the majority of the game, Thornton also struggled to throw strikes as he allowed three walks, hit a pair of batters and threw just 58% of his pitches for strikes.

With the Red Sox lineup recording the 4th-best OBP since the All-Star break, Thornton will need to find a way to locate his pitches effectively. If not, he’ll likely pitch fewer than five innings once again and be in line for his tenth loss of the season.

Jhoulys Chacin has suffered quite the downfall throughout this season. At the beginning of the season, Chacin opened the year as the Brewers Opening Day starter. However, home runs became a massive problem for the 31-year-old. Through his 19 starts with the Brewers, Chacin recorded a 1.9 HR/9 and surrendered at least one home run in 14 of those 19 starts.

Since arriving in Boston, Chacin has made two appearances and hasn’t allowed a hit through his three scoreless innings. Chacin has also created four strikeouts during those three innings as well. The Blue Jays have recorded the 5th-most number of strikeouts in the AL since the All-Star break, which means they may find it tough to record many runs during this bullpen day for the Red Sox.

Thursday at 7:07 ET

This will be just the first time in his career that Clay Buchholz will be pitching against the Red Sox. After spending 12 seasons within the Red Sox organization, Buchholz will now be tasked with playing against his former team in a country that he’s loved playing in throughout his career.

Through his 19 career starts at Rogers Centre, Buchholz owns a 2.79 ERA, 1.149 WHIP along with a .217 OPP AVG. The 35-year-old will also likely be seeking to improve off his previous outing against the Rays. During that start, Buchholz pitched six innings but allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits. While this series may be meaningless for the Blue Jays, Buchholz will surely be looking to pitch his best against his former team.

This game was supposed to be David Price’s 23rd start of the season. But, the Red Sox will be forced to use their bullpen on back-to-back days once again due to wrist tightness in Price’s left arm. Since it’s September, the Red Sox are currently carrying 16 different relievers in their bullpen.

So, they’ll have a wide assortment of pitchers to choose from during this game. Whoever doesn’t pitch during Wednesday’s game, will then likely be used during this season finale against the Blue Jays.