Rays aim to keep mastery over Blue Jays
They defeated the Blue Jays 7-1 Monday in the opener of a three-game series at the Rogers Centre and lead the season series 8-2.
The Rays (74-63) will try to keep that mastery going Tuesday in the second game of the series when they will start right-hander Ryne Stanek (2-3, 2.72 ERA) while the Blue Jays (62-75) will start left-hander Ryan Borucki (3-3, 4.52).
Stanek will be starting for the second game in a row and for the 23rd time this season. Tuesday will be the 42nd time this season that the Rays will use a reliever to start a game, or what has become known as an opener. Then manager Kevin Cash will bring in a pitcher who can go a bit longer. Or, as in the case Monday, much longer.
After Stanek pitched a perfect first inning Monday, Yonny Chirinos took over and allowed one run in seven innings to earn the win.
“When he’s going good that’s kind of what we’ve seen, very, very efficient,” Cash said of Chirinos.
It was the right-hander’s sixth consecutive relief appearance of five or more innings, which is tied for second in major league history.
Chirinos gave up two walks and an RBI single in his first inning, requiring 25 pitches, then he settled down and used only 47 pitches for his final six innings.
Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman allowed six hits and four runs in 1 2/3 innings Monday. It was his first start since Aug. 17 because he had been on the disabled list with a blister on his right middle finger. It was still bothering him Monday.
“It’s clearly affecting him and bothering him,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Borucki has never faced the Rays. He is coming off a 4 2/3 innings no-decision start against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday when he allowed five hits and five runs in a 10-5 loss.
The Blue Jays have won only twice in their past eight games, while the Rays have won 12 of their past 14 games. They are now 11 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2013 season at 92-71.
“It’s been fun,” Cash said.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are batting only .175 against the Rays this season, their lowest against any team.
Both teams have taken advantage of the expanded rosters for the final month of the season.
The Rays selected catcher Nick Ciuffo, their No. 25-ranked prospect, from Triple-A Durham and he made his major league debut Monday night’s game and went 0-for-4 with a run scored.
Rays catcher Adam Moore was placed on the restricted list due to improper documentation for his passport, making room for Ciuffo on the 40-man roster.
The Rays also will recall right-hander Jake Faria on Tuesday.
Outfielder Mallex Smith (viral infection) was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list Monday and was 1-for-5 with an RBI. He also used his speed in right field to cut off a potential extra-base hit by Billy McKinney and keep it to a single in the sixth inning. That proved valuable when the next batter, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., grounded into a double play.
The Blue Jays have already called up relievers Mark Leiter Jr., Jose Fernandez and Taylor Guerrieri — all of whom pitched Monday — as well as Sean Reid-Foley, who struck out 10 in earning his first major league win Sunday in Miami.
“I thought they all did very well,” Gibbons said.
There will be more players called up this week.
“There’ll be a few,” Gibbons said. “Some of them will come (Tuesday).”