Rays-Blue Jays Preview

A rainout this weekend gives R.A. Dickey the chance to help the

Toronto Blue Jays get back to their winning ways while earning

another victory at home.

The Blue Jays’ next opponent, though, has had plenty of success

in Toronto lately.

The surging Tampa Bay Rays will seek their 13th win in 18 games

at Rogers Centre on Monday while denying the Blue Jays a fourth

consecutive home victory and fifth in seven overall contests.

Dickey (3-5, 4.83 ERA) was originally scheduled to pitch

Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees, but rain in New York

pushed the knuckleballer’s start back to Monday. Toronto (17-26)

was likely happy to leave the area after dropping back-to-back

games following a season-best four consecutive victories.

The Blue Jays were outscored 12-2 in those two games in New York

after posting a 36-15 margin in their previous four.

Getting back on track, however, could prove difficult against

Tampa Bay, winner in nine of 11. The Rays (23-20) completed a

three-game sweep in Baltimore with a 3-1 victory Sunday.

“To come in here (and get a sweep) indicates how much better

we’ve been playing,” manager Joe Maddon said.

The Rays have outscored the Blue Jays 93-54 in their last 17

road games in the series but needed to win their final two games

against Toronto to salvage a four-game split at home earlier this

month.

Those two victories kick-started Tampa Bay’s current surge, and

Jake Odorizzi will try to help the Rays keep rolling in his debut

with the club.

The right-hander, taking the place of injured ace David Price,

was acquired from Kansas City in December in the deal that sent

pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals.

Odorizzi, 4-0 with a 3.83 ERA in eight starts at Triple-A Durham

this season, was 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in his first two major league

starts in September, both against Cleveland.

“Hopefully he gets at least five or six innings in there,”

Maddon told the team’s website. “He’s not intimidated by all this

stuff. He’s got a nice way about him. He has a confidence about

him. He’s not over-amped about the whole thing. So for all those

different reasons, I think he’s going to be just fine.”

Dickey, meanwhile, will try to build on his first win in five

outings. He struck out a season-high 10 and gave up two runs over

six innings in a 10-6 victory over San Francisco on Tuesday.

In his previous start, he allowed three runs over six innings to

Tampa Bay but Toronto failed to hold a lead in a 5-4 defeat in 10

innings. Dickey is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his last two starts

against the Rays.

“I faced Tampa two starts ago, so they’re pretty fresh in my

mind and I have some notes that I’ll reflect on,” Dickey told the

team’s website. “But outside of that, I pretty much know what I

need to do to be successful.”

Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria doubled off the right-hander in that

game as part of his career-high, 13-game hit streak. Longoria,

batting .385 (20 for 52) during that run, is 17 for 33 (.515)

during an eight-game hit streak against the Blue Jays.