Red Sox Decide Against Playing Blue Jays on Thursday in Wake of Jacob Blake Shooting

The Red Sox have decided not to play their game against the Blue Jays in Buffalo on Thursday night, according to The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams.

This news comes in the wake of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, getting shot in the back seven times and being left paralyzed from the waist down by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin this past Sunday.

That incident has led to a chain of boycotts among professional sports teams in the United States that began when the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the floor in their playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

The Bucks’ actions resulted in all other NBA playoff games, as well as three Major League Baseball games, being postponed. Had the Red Sox played the Blue Jays at a later time on Wednesday, a fourth game might have been pushed back, too.

Instead, the Sox did play the Jays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo in the middle game of what was a three-game series that will now be made up at a later date.

Per FlightAware, the Red Sox will be departing from Buffalo early Friday morning to head back to Boston, where they will open up a three-game weekend series against the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals later that day.

Red Sox Lineup: Michael Chavis Batting Ninth, Starting at Second Base in Second of Three Against Blue Jays in Buffalo

For the first time since last June, Michael Chavis is batting out of the nine-hole for the Red Sox in Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays in Buffalo.

The 25-year-old will be starting at second base as he enters the week on a bit of a cold streak. Since going 2-for-2 off the bench on August 13, he is 2-for-his-last-20 at the plate with two RBI, one walk, and 12 strikeouts.

Per FanGraphs, Chavis has struck out nearly 43% of the time this season, which is the highest rate in the American League among hitters with at least 60 plate appearances thus far.

Most recently, the Georgia native fanned thrice against the Orioles on Sunday, which came five days after he fanned five times in five trips to the plate against the Phillies last Tuesday.

“You have one of those games where everything goes wrong and you can’t let it wipe out all the hard work and the point you got to recently,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said in regards to Chavis last week. “Because I think he has been swinging the bat a lot better… You’ve got to be able to forget some things. It’s a very humbling game.”

In those three games (two starts) out of the nine-hole last season, Chavis accrued nine plate appearances in that spot and showed signs of success, slashing .375/.444/.625 with two doubles, one walk, and two runs scored.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind right-hander Colten Brewer and against Blue Jays rookie right-hander Julian Merryweather, who Toronto got from Cleveland in exchange for Josh Donaldson back in 2018, to begin things on Wednesday night:

First pitch is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox going for their second straight win in Buffalo.

Red Sox Right-Hander Nathan Eovaldi Scratched From Next Start Due To Calf Cramp

Nathan Eovaldi will not be making his seventh start of the season for the Red Sox on Wednesday as originally scheduled. Instead, the right-hander’s next outing has been pushed back to Saturday due to a right calf cramp.

With Eovaldi scratched, fellow righty Colten Brewer will start in his place, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke announced Tuesday.

“Nate will not start tomorrow,” Roenicke said via Zoom. “We’re going to start Brewer in his place. The reason is Nate’s calf cramped up on him a couple days ago and it’s still there some. So, we’re going to back him up to Saturday. He’s going to throw a bullpen today, I think, and then go Saturday.”

Per Roenicke, Eovaldi first experienced this issue two to three days ago, when after going out to play long toss, the 30-year-old’s calf began to cramp.

“We didn’t think it was any big deal,” the Sox skipper added. “But, the next day he still felt it some, so we decided to try to push him back.”

Eovaldi is coming off an outing in which he held the Orioles to just one run on five hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over seven quality innings of work last Thursday.

The Red Sox are 4-2 in games started by Eovaldi this season and 5-18 in all others.

Had Eovaldi not been scratched from Wednesday’s contest against Toronto, Brewer would have likely been a top candidate to start for Boston on Thursday seeing how he tossed four scoreless frames against Baltimore in his second start of the year last Friday.

However, the 27-year-old will now be getting the ball on Wednesday, meaning the Sox have to identify someone else to start in what will be the finale of this three-game set against the Jays on Thursday.

“Right now, we know who we’re probably going to start in that game,” Roenicke said. “We’ll see what happens these two days and see if that changes.”

So far this season, the Red Sox have used 11 different pitchers to start a game. That number could increase to 12 depending on who Thursday’s starter will be.

Red Sox Lineup: Alex Verdugo Leading off in First of Three Against Blue Jays in Buffalo

After enjoying their first off day in more than two weeks on Monday, the 9-20 Red Sox will open up a three-game series against the 14-13 Blue Jays in Buffalo on Tuesday night. For Boston, it will be their first time playing in Buffalo since 1917.

Rookie left-hander Kyle Hart will be making his third start of the season for the Sox, and he’ll be opposed by veteran right-hander Chase Anderson for the Jays.

Hart, who brings with him an 11.12 ERA into Monday’s contest, has yet to face the Blue Jays in his young career, while Anderson, who brings with him a 2.79 ERA, will be facing off against the Red Sox for the second time this season. The 32-year-old held Boston to one run over three innings pitched in his 2020 debut back on August 8, a game Toronto won by a final score of 2-1.

Here is how the Red Sox will be lining up behind Hart and against Anderson to begin things on Tuesday:

With a right-hander on the mound for the Jays, Alex Verdugo is back in the lineup, starting in left field, and batting out of the leadoff spot, while Mitch Moreland is starting at first base and hitting fifth.

Among these nine hitters, Verdugo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Jose Peraza have all taken Anderson deep before in their careers.

In terms of who has seen the Toronto starter best, Peraza has six hits in 18 prior at-bats against Anderson, good for a .333 batting average.

First pitch from Sahlen Field Tuesday is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox going for win No. 10 as the halfway point of the season nears.

Blue Jays to Play Majority of 2020 Home Games in Buffalo, Team Announces

The Blue Jays will play a majority of their home games this season in Buffalo, N.Y., the club officially announced Friday.

Per said statement, the Jays will be taking up residence at Sahlen Field, where the Buffalo Bisons, the club’s Triple-A affiliate, play.

This news comes two days after Toronto’s initial plan to play the majority of its 2020 home games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pa. fell through after the Pennsylvania Department of Health denied the club’s request to share the ballpark with the Pirates this year while citing the risks that would involve.

Baltimore’s Camden Yards, home of the Orioles, and Dunedin’s TD Ballpark, the Jays’ spring training home, had also been viewed as possible contingency plans for Toronto, but due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in Baltimore County and Florida, those ideas were seemingly thrown out the window.

Instead, after the Canadian government ruled last week that the Blue Jays could not play at Rogers Centre this season, the country’s lone MLB team finally has a home for 2020.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to play the Red Sox 10 times during this truncated 60-game season, and three of those games will now take place in Buffalo from August 25 through August 27 if all goes according to plan.