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Nine to Know: Red Sox vs. Blue Jays

The Bill Chuck Files overflow each day with stats, factoids, and observations that are sometimes relevant, sometimes irrelevant, and sometimes simply intriguing. At the start of each Sox series, I will share some of these in my "Nine to Know,” and I hope you will do the same.

After the disastrous weekend hosting of the Tigers, there are so many postmortems around we could launch a new series entitled, “CSI: Fenway.” Unfortunately, there are a multitude of reasons as to why the Red Sox are struggling. Don't feel consoled that the Sox are only three games out of first. The Sox are three games under .500 because of inconsistent pitching, hitting, and defense and that is no reason to be content.

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Nine to Know: Blue Jays (23-22 overall/13-11 on the road) @ Red Sox (20-23 overall/10-14 at home)

1. The Red Sox are struggling against righties. Last season, they were second in the majors against righties with a .283 BA (Tigers hit .290). This season they are 21st hitting .240 against righties and 26th in homers with 22 (last season, they were 7th with 126).

2. You can see John Farrell trying to jumpstart the offense by trying to get this team running but steals are hard to come by. Last season, they had 123 steals (.759 per game). This season, they have 13 steals (.302 per game).

3. Don’t romanticize the success of the shortstop/third base combination last season that had a slash line of .253/.314/.413 with a home run rate of 2.9 percent, a walk rate of 7.9 percent, and a whiff rate of 21.8 percent. But, shortstop/third base, despite an uptick in walks, is much weaker this year with a slash line of .229/.331/.322 with a home run rate of 1.4 percent, a walk rate of 10.6 percent, and a whiff rate of 23.5 percent.

4. Last season, the Red Sox had a fielding percentage of .987 with a Total Zone Fielding rating of +19. This season, the Red Sox have a slightly lower fielding percentage of .983 but a Total Zone Fielding rating of -15, a reversal of 34 more runs allowed.

5. Last season, the Sox starting pitching had a 3.84 ERA, 1.293 WHIP, pitched 6.07 IP/Game, 7.59 K/9 and 3.21 BB/9. This season, the Sox starting pitching have a 4.20 ERA, 1.409 WHIP, pitch 5.98 IP/game, 8.19 K/9 and 3.01 BB/9.

6. As a team, the Blue Jays are hitting .253 with 59 homers, 156 walks, 338 whiffs, and 20-of-28 in steals. The Sox are hitting .242 with 34 homers, 174 walks, 354 whiffs, and 13-of-24 steals.

7. Jose Bautista has started all 45 games for the Jays and hit third in all of them; Edwin Encarnacion has hit fourth in 40 games for Toronto. Overall, the three and four Toronto batters combined are hitting .266 with 20 homers, 59 RBI, 60 walks, and 69 strikeouts. David Ortiz has 40 starts hitting third and Mike Napoli has 39 starts in the cleanup slot. Overall, the three and four Boston batters combined are hitting .273 with 16 homers, 49 RBI, 60 walks, and 79 strikeouts.

8. Thursday afternoon is the premier matchup: Mark Buehrle is the majors top winner at 7-1 with a 2.11 ERA, but the one loss came at the hands of the Sox who hit him for seven runs (six earned) on April 25. Buehrle has allowed six runs total in his four starts since Boston. Buehrle faces Jon Lester and his 2.67 ERA. Jon has gotten 2.92 run support this season compared to Buehrle’s 6.12.

9. The Jays have a +7 run differential, the only team in the AL East on the plus side. The Sox are -12 in run differential. At this point last season, the Sox had a +34 run differential.