Rays-Blue Jays Preview
The Tampa Bay Rays own the best road record in the majors.
The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t having much luck at home.
Hot-hitting Matt Joyce looks to help the AL East-leading Rays
win for the 12th time in 13 road games and sweep a two-game set
from the Blue Jays on Thursday night.
Tampa Bay (25-18) has won 11 of 12 away from home – outscoring
the opposition 81-33 in that span – to improve to 14-5 there.
Joyce has played a prominent role in that success of late,
batting .417 with three homers, five RBIs and 10 runs in his last
six road games after hitting .233 with one RBI in his first 11.
The right fielder hit a two-run shot for his seventh homer of
the season in Wednesday’s 6-5 victory.
“He just absolutely mangled that ball,” manager Joe Maddon
Despite those heroics, Joyce is 5 for 38 with five RBIs in 16
career games versus the Blue Jays (21-22). The homer was his first
hit in 19 career at-bats at Rogers Centre.
Tampa Bay will send Wade Davis (4-3, 3.47) to the mound trying
to regain his momentum.
The right-hander was charged with a 6-0 loss to Baltimore on
Saturday, allowing four runs and seven hits – two homers – in 5 1-3
innings. He’d gone 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his five prior
That stretch included a 3-2 Rays win over Toronto on May 3, when
Davis allowed two runs in six innings but didn’t get a decision in
a game ultimately decided by B.J. Upton’s two-run walkoff
Davis is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA in four starts versus Toronto.
The Blue Jays saw their six-game overall winning streak end
Wednesday as they lost for the sixth time in their last nine home
games. Three of those defeats have come against the Rays.
Toronto committed a season-high five errors in the series opener
– two by first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who leads the majors with
“I’m sure you could point to every team having a stretch in
their schedule where they performed less than anticipated,” manager
John Farrell told the Blue Jays’ official website. “I think going
forward, I think it will come down to consistency and starting
rotations. There will come a point in the season where we look back
and say, ‘What is the reason why a team separated itself from the
group?’, and I think that is what we will end up pointing to.”
Farrell will give the ball to Ricky Romero (3-4, 3.35), whose
best performance of the season came in Friday’s 2-0 victory at
Minnesota. The left-hander carried a no-hitter into the sixth
inning and pitched 8 2-3, limiting the Twins to four hits while
striking out nine.
Romero is 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA over his last three home starts,
but he’s received just one run of support in that span and none in
the last two. He lost 2-0 to Tampa Bay on April 24, when he gave up
two runs and struck out 10 over seven innings while Toronto’s
offense was four-hit by James Shields.
Jays slugger Jose Bautista is doing just fine at home with a
.432 average, eight homers and 10 RBIs. However, he’s 1 for 9 with
no extra-base hits lifetime versus Davis.