Rays-Blue Jays Preview
The first two games of the Tampa Bay Rays’ weekend series in
Toronto couldn’t have gone much worse.
The Rays could be in store for another tough go with Andy
Sonnanstine set to make a spot start against the high-powered Blue
Jays in Sunday’s finale.
Toronto took advantage of two Tampa Bay errors to hand the Rays
(67-43) a 2-1 loss in the Friday opener. It was a disheartening
defeat for a Tampa Bay team battling New York for first place in
the AL East, but not nearly as embarrassing as Saturday’s 17-11
Toronto (58-52) hit eight homers, second most in franchise
history, in plating a run in every inning but the eighth against a
Rays club that leads the AL with a 3.68 ERA. The Blue Jays, tops in
the majors with 175 homers, finished with season highs in runs and
“You think they’re going to get a couple (home runs) during the
course of every game, that’s just how they’re built,” Rays manager
Joe Maddon said. “I guess they made up for not getting any
Tampa Bay, which has not been swept since May 24-26, has lost a
season-worst four consecutive games.
The Rays’ last victory came Tuesday over Minnesota in Jeff
Niemann’s most recent start. His next turn was Sunday, but he was
scratched with a sore right shoulder. The injury isn’t considered
serious and Niemann is expected to miss only one start.
That forced Maddon to turn to Sonnanstine (2-0, 4.22 ERA), who
is expected to be activated from the disabled list to make his
first start of the year.
Sonnanstine, out since July 18 because of a strained left
hamstring, has made 30 relief appearances this season. The
right-hander hasn’t started against the Blue Jays since 2008, and
is 2-2 with a 5.92 ERA in seven career games against them.
Sonnanstine threw 1 1/3 innings in his lone rehab start for
Single-A Charlotte on Thursday, and has gone longer than three
innings only three times this year.
That could spell trouble for Tampa Bay considering James Shields
went four innings Saturday, becoming the eighth pitcher in the
modern era to surrender six homers in a game.
Aaron Hill and J.P. Arencibia each hit two home runs for
Toronto, while Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion and Lyle
Overbay also went deep. Bautista’s shot was his major
Arencibia, making his major league debut, homered on the first
pitch of his first at-bat. The rookie catcher added another
first-pitch homer in the sixth and finished with four hits.
“I could never have imagined this, ever,” Arencibia said. “I
was pretty surprised because my first at-bat I really wasn’t that
nervous. I was pretty even-keeled and then after that I was pretty
comfortable in the box.”
Arencibia, called up from Triple-A Las Vegas after John Buck
injured his right thumb, could be back behind the plate to catch
Brandon Morrow (8-6, 4.79).
The right-hander was a little shaky in an 8-6 victory over the
Yankees on Monday, allowing five runs in 5 1-3 innings, but managed
to win his third straight start. It was the fourth time in six
outings Morrow yielded five runs.
Morrow has gone 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against the
Rays this season.