Friday, April 8, 2016

Stroman starts Jays home opener vs. Red Sox

Following two months in Florida, the Blue Jays return home to open their 40th season north of the border with a game at 7:07 p.m. ET Friday against the Red Sox.
Toronto will have a sold-out crowd in attendance when right-hander Marcus Stroman takes the mound for the first home opener of his career. Boston will counter with right-hander Joe Kelly.
The rivals are expected to battle for the American League East title, which the Blue Jays won in 2015. Toronto split four games at Tropicana Field to start the season, while the Red Sox split a two-game series in Cleveland before having Thursday's finale postponed.
For the Red Sox, this kicks off a stretch of 13 straight games against AL East foes.
"We're looking forward to this run," said Farrell. "We knew coming into Spring Training that this part of the schedule was going to be presented to us early on, and we're looking forward to the challenge."
Stroman also started the Blue Jays' first game of the season, but he will be pitching on normal rest because of an off-day on Thursday. Toronto's No. 1 starter pitched into the ninth inning on Opening Day against the Rays, picking up the win after allowing three runs with five strikeouts.
"When Stro takes the mound, it's different," Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "He raises the bar that [he] wants you to match his energy and just the swag that he has. Really, [it] is second to none."
Three things to know about this game
• Fans attending Friday night's game will receive a 2015 AL East Division Championship rally towel. They also will get a Blue Jays 2016 magnet schedule. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the pregame ceremonies.
• The Red Sox got Chris Young to mash lefties, but they didn't face any southpaw starters in Cleveland and won't in Toronto either. The same could be true when the Orioles come to Fenway Park next week for the start of the first homestand. Farrell said he will probably start Young against a righty or two to keep him involved.
• During his first outing of the year, Stroman threw first-pitch strikes to 24 of the 28 batters he faced. Stroman also tossed 75 percent of his overall pitches for strikes, which was the highest mark in his career for a single start.

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