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Red Sox at Blue Jays: What bettors need to know

Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays (-154, 8.5)

An overlooked part of the Toronto Blue Jays’ off-season makeover was the trade of manager John Farrell to the Boston Red Sox. Farrell returns to the place where he managed for two seasons on Friday when the Red Sox begin a three-game road series against the Blue Jays. After firing manager Bobby Valentine, Boston set its sights on Farrell, the team’s pitching coach from 2007-10. The Red Sox acquired Farrell and reliever David Carpenter in exchange for shortstop Mike Aviles.

Farrell has gotten his new team off to a fine start as Boston won two of three on the road against the New York Yankees. The Red Sox may find the going a bit tougher after the Blue Jays’ offense awakened for the first time in a 10-8 victory over Cleveland to avoid a three-game sweep. While some of Toronto’s new hitters are struggling, such as Jose Reyes (2-for-11) and Melky Cabrera (2-for-12), J.P. Arencibia belted two of the Blue Jays’ five homers in Thursday’s win.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, New England Sports Network (Boston), Sportsnet (Toronto)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Felix Doubront (2012: 11-10, 4.86 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Josh Johnson (8-14, 3.81)

Doubront emerged from little-used reliever over his first two seasons to a full-time starter in 2012, striking out more than a batter per inning (167 strikeouts over 161 innings). Control was an issue for him as his 71 walks were the ninth-highest total in the American League. Doubront made four starts against the Blue Jays last season, going 1-2 with a 5.91 ERA, but was markedly better in his two outings at the Rogers Centre (1-0, 3.18 ERA).

Johnson overcame the shoulder issues that limited him to nine starts in 2011, but struggled along with the rest of the Miami Marlins in 2012 and set a career high for losses. He was masterful in spring training with a 5-0 record and 2.70 ERA, recording 23 strikeouts in 20 innings while holding hitters to a .164 batting average. Johnson enjoyed one of his finest starts last season while collecting a win in his only outing against the Red Sox, allowing four hits and striking out seven over seven innings.

TRENDS:

* Blue Jays are 4-0 in their last four games vs. a left-handed starter.
* Red Sox are 2-7 in the last nine meetings.
* Over is 5-0 in Doubronts’ last five Friday starts.
* Under is 5-0 in Blue Jays’ last five home games with the total set at 7.0-8.5.

WALK-OFFS


1. Farrell compiled a 154-170 record from 2011-12 with Toronto.

2. Cabrera is three hits shy of 1,000 for his career.

3. Six of the 24 homers Doubront allowed in 2012 came against the Blue Jays.

4. Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista (ankle) won't play.

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