MLB

Sat, Sep 28, 2013 - 1:07 PM ET
 

Rays-Blue Jays Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Tampa Bay Rays have discovered that beating up on bad teams is not as easy as the Cleveland Indians have made it look.

The Rays look to exact revenge on the last-place Toronto Blue Jays and clinch a share of the second wild-card spot with a win Saturday.

The Rays and Indians fought their way to the top of the race with a pair of seven-game winning streaks.

While Tampa Bay was dealing with fading postseason contenders in Baltimore and the New York Yankees, Cleveland took advantage of a triad of lowly teams in Houston, the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota.

On Friday, however, the Rays (90-70) were cooled of with a 6-3 loss in Toronto (73-87) as they failed to hold an early 2-0 lead and committed a season-high three errors.

"One of those games," manager Joe Maddon said. "We've been on a pretty good run. Go get a good night's sleep and come back tomorrow."

As a result, the Rays are now tied for the top wild-card spot with the Indians, who won their eighth straight Friday.

With Texas still a game behind, even after its 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels Friday, Tampa Bay could clinch a 163rd game at the very least with a victory Saturday.

"We really still are in the driver's seat," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "It's not like we're playing catch-up at this point."

Tampa Bay had allowed four runs or fewer in seven straight leading up to Friday.

The one Tampa Bay pitcher who hasn't had a particularly good September is Chris Archer (9-7, 3.21 ERA), who is 1-2 with a 4.88 ERA in five starts this month. He went 6-2 with a 2.13 ERA in July and August.

"You don't see too many guys who throw in the upper 90s with that kind of secondary stuff," right fielder Wil Myers told the team's official website. "I don't even think he's tapped into his full potential yet."

After lasting seven-plus innings in seven of 11 starts in July and August, he hasn't recorded an out in the seventh since.

Archer's struggles carried into Monday, when he gave up four runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 5-4 victory over Baltimore.

The good news for Archer is that he is facing a Blue Jays team that he has held to two runs and nine hits in 14 innings this year.

Tampa Bay should be happy to see J.A. Happ (4-7, 4.85) again. The left-hander is 1-1 with an 8.44 ERA in four career starts against the Rays, though he did earn a 6-2 victory with 5 1-3 strong innings Aug. 17.

Happ hasn't had many wins since, going 1-5 over his last seven starts. That's due in no small part to the 13 runs the Blue Jays have scored for him over that stretch.

On Monday, he surrendered three runs - two homers - over five innings in a 3-2 loss to the White Sox.

James Loney, Ben Zobrist and Longoria are a combined 12 for 22 against Happ. Longoria is 8 for 17 with two homers and eight RBIs in his last four games, while Zobrist is 8 for his last 20.

Shortstop Yunel Escobar, hampered by a left ankle injury, is expected to make his first start for Tampa Bay since Sept. 23. He is 3 for his last 29 (.103).

The Blue Jays need to win their final two games to avoid finishing under .500 at home for the first time since 2004.

Tagged: Indians, Blue Jays, Rays, Evan Longoria, J.A. Happ

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..