Blue Jays look to secure playoff spot in finale
BOSTON — With the American League East title already in hand, the Boston Red Sox are focused on celebrating David Ortiz's legacy in Sunday's regular season finale against Toronto.
But the Blue Jays still have some unfinished business.
Toronto (88-73) needs a win to lock up an AL wild card spot, as their 4-3 victory Saturday pulled them into a tie for the top spot with the Baltimore Orioles, who lost 7-3 to the New York Yankees earlier in the day.
The Blue Jays can still make the playoffs with a loss Sunday, but that could introduce the need for a play-in game against either the Detroit Tigers or Seattle Mariners.
“I'm not worried about that,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “We want to enjoy this one. They've been hard to come by, so we'll let (others) worry about that.”
Boston (93-68) now trails ALDS opponent Cleveland by a 1/2 game after the Indians bested the Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Saturday.
An Indians win on Sunday would give them home field advantage in the series with the Red Sox.
“Obviously we would like the home-field advantage,” Red Sox utility man Brock Holt said. “We'll come ready to go tomorrow. Hopefully we'll play that first game here.”
Ortiz, meanwhile, will play the 2,408th and final regular season game — and his 1,014th at Fenway — of his storied 20-year career.
The man affectionately known as “Big Papi” has put together a resume worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, hitting .286 with 541 home runs — 17th most all-time — and 1,768 RBIs.
As they have done all weekend, the Red Sox will honor Ortiz with a pregame ceremony and are asking fans to be in their seats by 2 p.m. ET ahead of a scheduled 3:05 p.m. first pitch.
David Price (17-9, 4.04 ERA) has a chance to end an up-and-down inaugural season with the Red Sox as an 18-game winner, but likely won't go deep into the game.
“He's (been) under a lot of scrutiny as we know,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who anticipates limiting Price's pitch count, “and yet you look at the body of work that he's put in for us, and he's been a very strong starter for us.”
Price has been masterful in his career against the Blue Jays, posting a 17-3 record with a 2.44 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 24 career starts.
His .850 winning percentage versus Toronto is the highest ever against the team with the minimum of 10 decisions.
Despite the lack of team success, Blue Jays sluggers Jose Bautista (.345, 20-for-58, six homers, 14 RBIs) and Edwin Encarnacion (.250, 12-for-48, four homers, nine RBIs) have given Price fits.
Toronto counters with Aaron Sanchez (14-2, 3.06 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 5.19 ERA in three starts against Boston this season and 3-1 with a 3.89 ERA in 13 career appearances (five starts).
Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit Sanchez well in a limited sample size, going 3-for-7 with a home run and four RBIs. Ortiz is 4-for-9 with a double, an RBI and four walks versus Sanchez.