TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays will get their first look of the season against the Boston Red Sox's Chris Sale on Thursday night at the Rogers Centre in the finale of the three-game series between the American League East Division rivals.
The teams split the first two games with Boston (9-6) winning the opener and the Blue Jays (3-11) taking the second game.
Sale, the left-hander whom the Red Sox acquired in the offseason in a blockbuster deal that sent four prospects to the Chicago White Sox, has pitched strongly for his new team. He has logged 21 2/3 innings in three games, allowing 11 hits with a 1.25 ERA while splitting two decisions.
Sale has posted 29 strikeouts and only five walks and has averaged more than 107 pitches. He did not factor in the decision in his Red Sox debut April 5 against Pittsburgh in Boston, when the Red Sox won 3-0 in 12 innings.
He made his second start of the season April 10 in Detroit and was on the losing end of a 2-1 score. He was charged with two runs, one of them a homer, the only one he's allowed this season.
Sale recorded his first win April 15 in Boston in a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay.
Red Sox manager John Farrell is expecting Sale to continue his stretch of seven innings and yielding few runs.
"That's kind of what has been the norm so far," Farrell said. "He's been as advertised. He's been outstanding -- powerful, works quick, very aggressive in the strike zone. You couldn't ask for more than the way he's produced so far."
Boston general manager Dave Dombrowski echoed Farrell's thoughts.
"He's pitched very well for us and we're excited when he takes the mound," Dombrowski said. "You never can tell what any particular day brings, but he gives you as good a chance as anybody in trying to bring a victory. He's pitched outstanding for us. He's been consistent in the three outings he's had so far."
The Jays counter with right-hander Marco Estrada (0-1). He had his best outing of the season in his last start, April 15 at home against Baltimore, going seven innings and not allowing any hits, striking out seven, walking three and throwing 107 pitches. The Jays won the game 2-1, breaking a prolonged losing streak, and Estrada was unlucky not to record the win. Reliever Roberto Osuna blew the save opportunity, but received the victory.
Estrada was roughed up in his previous outing, a 7-2 loss to Tampa Bay on April 9. He was charged with five runs on seven hits in five innings and issued three homers.
He opened the season for the Jays, but did not factor in the finish in the 11-inning game after departing after six innings and the score tied 2-2.
Overall, he has averaged 99 pitches per start.
"Marco can be just as overpowering (as Sale), but in his own style," Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He doesn't have an overpowering fastball, but I don't know anyone in the game who has a better changeup. He can still dominate a good-hitting club.
"It will be a good matchup. You would anticipate it would be a low-scoring game on both sides because they're both really good. Everybody knows Sale's reputation, but I think in the last couple years everybody has figured out how good Marco is."