Can the Sox pay back their AL East foe?

May 1st, 2023

This story was excerpted from Ian Browne’s Red Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

As the Toronto Blue Jays come to Fenway Park to open a four-game series on Monday, the Red Sox don’t need any added reminders of the damage this American League East foe did to their 2022 season.

The ‘22 Sox went 75-68 last season against all teams that didn’t call Toronto home. Against the Blue Jays? Boston went 3-16. That’s how a season that could have ended above .500 was instead a 78-84 disappointment.

A strong showing against the Jays, who are off to an 18-10 start and have won seven of their last 10, could give the 15-14 Red Sox an early boost of confidence.

A rough showing -- anything less than a split -- could bring back some old feelings the Red Sox aren’t interested in revisiting.

The AL East is a ruthless division -- the only one in baseball in which every team finished the first month of the season above .500.

Considering some of the potholes the Red Sox endured (the struggles of the starting rotation, the broken left wrist suffered by , the month-long slump of ), a 15-14 record doesn’t sound bad.

These next four days against the Blue Jays represent an opportunity. An opportunity to forget Toronto’s run differential against the Sox last season was plus-70, as in 125-55. An opportunity to forget that humiliating Friday night in July when Toronto tattooed Boston, 28-5, at Fenway.

“We play them and then the Phillies and the Braves,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “We’ve just got to go out [this series] and play good baseball. It seems like [Matt] Chapman is at another level right now. [Bo] Bichette is doing his thing with Vladdy [Guerrero Jr.]. They added some left-handed hitting. It’s a different lineup, but they're good at what they do. They’ve been doing it for the last two years and we’ve just got to be ready.”