Nathan Eovaldi, Red Sox melt down in 9-run fifth inning, fall to Blue Jays, 12-4; Boston drops to 1-7 in last 8 games

At one point Friday night, the Red Sox had a 2-0 lead over the Blue Jays in their first game at Rogers Centre in nearly two years.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his 22nd start of the season for the Sox, got off to a strong start in the opener of this four-game weekend series by retiring 12 of the first 15 batters he faced over four impressive, scoreless innings.

The Boston lineup, meanwhile, was matched up against rookie starter Alek Manoah for Toronto. After managing just one hit the first time through the order, Alex Verdugo led off the top side of the fourth with a line-drive double.

Verdugo advanced to third on a J.D. Martinez groundout and scored from third on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Xander Bogaerts to give the Sox the first lead of the night.

An inning later, Marwin Gonzalez reached base via a one-out infield single, moved up to second on a walk drawn by Christian Vazquez, and came in to score from second on a two-out RBI single courtesy of Enrique Hernandez.

Another free pass to Verdugo loaded the bases for the slumping — but still threatening J.D. Martinez, but Manoah managed to escape the jam by getting the All-Star slugger to weakly pop out to first base.

At that point, exactly halfway through the nine-inning contest, the Red Sox found themselves in possession of a 2-0 lead with a dealing Eovaldi seemingly on his way to a quality inning.

Instead, the bottom fell out for Eovaldi — and the Sox — in the latter half of the fifth, resulting in this game completely turning on its head.

There, back-to-back-to-back doubles from Toronto’s 7, 8, 9 hitters (Alejandro Kirk, Randal Grichuk, and Breyvic Valera) brought in their first two runs of the night to knot things up at 2-2, though they were not done there.

Eovaldi got George Springer to fly out, intentionally walked Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to set up a double play, and struck out Marcus Semien on three pitches for the second out. But the veteran right-hander was unable to finish the job, as he served up an RBI single to Bo Bichette, a two-run double to Teoscar Hernandez, and a two-run home run down the left field line to Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Just like that, on the back of three straight run-scoring hits with two outs, the Blue Jays jumped out to a 7-2 lead and that subsequently marked the end of the line for Eovaldi as he got the quick hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (57 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler wound up surrendering a season-high seven runs — all of which were earned — on eight hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over just 4 2/3 of work.

In relief of Eovaldi, newcomer Hansel Robles got the first call out of the Boston bullpen, although he certainly did not stop the bleeding. After issuing a single to Kirk, the righty plunked Grichuk on the elbow with a 96 mph fastball, sparking some drama as the Blue Jays dugout took exception to the beaning.

Though nothing came of Robles’ extra-curriculars sans both dugouts receiving warnings from home plate umpire Jim Wolf, the Jays tacked on two more runs with a 2-RBI double off the bat of Springer, thus capping off a nine-run bottom of the fifth for Toronto.

From there, Hunter Renfroe clobbered a two-run home run off Blue Jays reliever Ryan Borucki to cut the deficit to five runs at 9-4 in the top of the sixth, but the right fielder’s 18th big fly of the season did not make much of a difference in the end.

That being the case because after Austin Davis allowed one run to cross the plate in the bottom half of the sixth, Renfroe popped out with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh.

Martin Perez — on the same day he was demoted to the Red Sox bullpen and just one day after his start against the Tigers — took over for Davis and yielded one additional run on two hits in the seventh.

And in the eighth, Jonathan Arauz became the fourth position player to pitch for the Red Sox this season, and he also allowed one more run to score to make it a 12-4 contest in favor of the Blue Jays, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Of the 12 pitches (eight strikes) Arauz threw, four were identified by sliders and three were identified as curveballs. He topped out at 43.7 mph.

Anyway, with the loss, the Red Sox have now dropped seven of their last eight games and have fallen to 64-47 on the season as a result. They are now 2 1/2 games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Doubleheader on-deck

The Sox and Jays will play two at Rogers Centre on Saturday, with Game 1 scheduled to begin at 3:07 p.m. eastern time and Game 2 to follow at 7:07 p.m. ET.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta is slated to face off against left-hander Robbie Ray in the day cap, while righty Tanner Houck will square off against fellow right-hander Jose Berrios in the night cap.

Both games will be broadcast on NESN.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays game postponed due to thunderstorms in Buffalo area

Tuesday night’s game between the Red Sox and Blue Jays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo has been postponed due to thunderstorms in the Buffalo-area.

After the Sox crushed the Jays, 13-4, on Monday, the two sides were slated to go at it again at approximately 7:07 p.m. eastern time on Tuesday, but inclement weather in Western New York prevented that from happening.

Instead, Tuesday’s postponed contest will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on August 7, with the first game slated to begin at 3:07 p.m. ET and the night cap to follow at 7:07 p.m. ET.

At that time, the Blue Jays — who began the 2021 season playing their home games at their spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla. before making the move to Buffalo last month on account of the COVID-19 pandemic — will be back at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

That being the case because last week, the club received a national interest exemption from the Canadian government to return to their home in Ontario at the end of the month, per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi.

The Red Sox have not played a game north of the border since early September of the 2019 season, so that will certainly be something to look forward to.

In the meantime, Boston’s three-game series against Toronto has been converted into a quick two-game series, so the Sox will have the chance to go for the sweep on Wednesday night.

Right-hander Garrett Richards, who was slated to start for the Red Sox on Tuesday, should be doing the same in Wednesday’s series finale.

Fellow righty Thomas Hatch, meanwhile, was in line to start for the Blue Jays on Tuesday, but it remains to be seen if he will do the same opposite Richards.

Regardless, first pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Sahlen Field: Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

Blue Jays Still Without a Home Ballpark for 2020 Season as Pittsburgh Plan Unravels

Contrary to what was posted on here earlier Wednesday, the Red Sox will not be traveling to Pittsburgh for their lone road series of the year against the Toronto Blue Jays this season.

That being the case because, according to The Associated Press’ Marc Levy, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will not allow the Jays to play their home games at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This decision from the PDH comes despite the fact that the Blue Jays and Pirates had already reached an agreement to share the ballpark for this truncated, 60-game season, which for Toronto begins this coming Friday.

With no home ballpark at this point, the Blue Jays have quite a bit of work to do before their “home” opener on July 29 against the Nationals. As a matter of fact, it looks like that series could take place at Nationals Park seeing how the two sides play two games against each other in the nation’s capital right before then.

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As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Mason, “It’s unclear where the Jays go from here. Hypothetically, they could play all 30 of their home games in road cities, but that would leave them at a massive disadvantage.”

Alternative venues the Blue Jays could use for their home games in 2020 include TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., the home of their spring training facility, and Sahlen Field in Buffalo, NY., the home of their Triple-A affiliate that has been serving as the club’s alternate training site since Summer Camp began.

Baltimore’s Camden Yards has been thrown out there as well.

Blue Jays to Play Majority of 2020 Home Games at PNC Park, Meaning Red Sox Will Travel to Pittsburgh Instead of Toronto in Late August

UPDATE: It looks like this could be falling apart as I am typing this, so there’s that.

The Red Sox were originally supposed to visit PNC Park earlier this month to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game, Independence Day weekend series.

Instead, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Sox will be limited to just playing regional opponents this year, but they will still be making a trip to Pittsburgh after all.

That being the case because, as of Wednesday morning, it looks like the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing a majority of their 2020 home games in the Steel City, barring a few exceptions against the Nationals and Yankees.

This all comes as the Canadian government ruled over the weekend that the Blue Jays would not be permitted to play regular season games in Toronto due to the pandemic. From the Associated Press’ report:

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Saturday the federal government had denied the Blue Jays’ request to play at Rogers Centre, confirming what an official familiar with the matter had told The Associated Press ahead of the announcement.

Ahead of this truncated, 60-game season, the Red Sox are scheduled to play the Jays 10 times in 2020. Three of those games were supposed to take place at Rogers Centre from August 25 through August 27, but it now looks like they will now take place at PNC Park, a venue the Sox last visited in 2014.