Rays-Blue Jays Preview
Tampa Bay's Chris Archer and Toronto's Marcus Stroman are set to square off for the second time, and each will make their third start already against their AL East foes.
While the visiting Rays look to can carry over an offensive outburst from the series opener to Tuesday night, the Blue Jays hope Stroman can settle down a hectic start to their week.
Tampa Bay (17-19) won Monday's opener 13-2, evening the season series at four games apiece. The Rays got home runs from Steve Pearce, Desmond Jennings, Curt Casali and Tim Beckham while logging season highs in runs and hits (17).
Jennings and Steven Souza Jr. each had three hits in the opener of an eight-game, three-city road trip.
''Just a great offensive outpouring by everybody,'' Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. ''A lot of balls were hit with authority.''
The loss was the third straight for Toronto (19-21), and it came on the heels of Sunday's brawl during a 7-6 loss at Texas. Jose Bautista was punched in the jaw by Rougned Odor after a hard slide into second base, and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was one of eight ejected.
Gibbons was also tossed on Monday after arguing a called third strike, and the Blue Jays are still awaiting word of discipline and suspensions from Sunday.
Kevin Pillar was the first player out of Toronto's dugout to defend Bautista, and the center fielder discussed the situation before Monday's game.
“I think everyone in this clubhouse came to the defense of Bautista,” Kevin Pillar told MLB's official website. “You don't want to see it escalate to that extent, but in the heat of the moment you have to do what you feel is right. You have to go out there and defend yourself and defend your teammates. Given the circumstances, I felt like he was owed one, and I was going out there to get him.”
Stroman is tasked with calming things down on the diamond for the Blue Jays.
Stroman (4-0, 3.54 ERA) has beaten Tampa Bay twice this year, tossing eight solid innings in each outing. He gave up nine hits and four runs combined, besting Archer in a season-opening 5-3 victory on April 3 and then holding the Rays to three hits and a run in a 5-1 win on May 1.
Including two 2014 meetings, Stroman is 3-1 with a 3.67 ERA against Tampa Bay.
Evan Longoria is 6 for 12 with a pair of home runs off him, including one earlier this month, and Pearce, Hank Conger and Corey Dickerson each have homered in the matchup.
Archer (2-4, 4.57) has seen mixed results against Toronto this season, allowing three runs and five hits over five innings in the season opener before tossing six one-hit innings in a 4-3 win on April 30.
He struck out 12 in the first meeting and only surrendered a two-run homer to Bautista in the second.
Archer has a 3.26 ERA in 17 career starts against the Blue Jays, yielding three earned runs or fewer in all but three of those outings.
Edwin Encarnacion has three career home runs against Archer and Bautista has two, but they bat a combined .152 in 79 at-bats against him.