Series preview: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays

 

The Toronto Blue Jays close out their final homestand of July against the American League East rival Tamp Bay Rays.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rays are currently second  in the AL East division, 10 games behind the first place Yankees and one game up on third place Boston. The Rays are also one game out of the second wild card spot.

 

The Jays are fourth in the AL East division, 28.5 games behind the first place Yankees and 19.5 games out of the second wild card.

 

The Jays are 4-6 in their last 10 games and the Rays are 3-7. Tampa Bay, who always seems to play some of their best baseball against Toronto, is highly motivated to step up their game since they are within striking distance of a wild card playoff spot.

 

Friday July 26,  7:07 pm

RHP Diego Castillo (TB) vs RHP Jacob Waguespack (TOR)

Waguespack:  Record 1-0.  5.68 era. 4.11 FIP. 1.474 WHIP. 1.9 BB/9.  9.5 K/9

 

Rookie Waguespack has had mixed results in his first four games in MLB. His era and FIP won’t exactly thrill Jays fans but his BB/9 and K/9 are very impressive. Realistically, Waguespack hasn’t done poorly, considering that if everyone were healthy, he would probably be around 10th on the starting pitcher depth chart. Once the Jays as a team have developed to the point of being contenders, Waguespack might be useful as a relief pitcher.

 

In Waguespack’s last game, July 21 vs the Detroit Tigers he surrendered 9 hits in 5.1 innings but limited the damage to 3 ER. He didn’t allow a base on balls and struck out 7.

 

Waguespack’s MLB debut was against the Rays on May 27. He pitched 4 innings of relief, giving up 3 runs, 2 earned on 3 hits. He walked one and struck out 7.

 

Castillo:  Record: 1-6. 3.96 era. 4.31 FIP. 1.345 WHIP. 4.2 BB/9. 10.0 K/9.

 

Castillo will be making his first start of 2019 on Friday. So far this season he has appeared in 38 games, pitching 38.2 innings, essentially a one inning per game relief pitcher. Since he isn’t stretched out, they may be planning to use him as a one inning opener.

 

Saturday July 27, 3:07 pm

TBD (TB) vs LHP Ryan Borucki (TOR)

Borucki:  Record 0-1.  3.86 era. 4.51 FIP.  2.357 WHIP. 7.7 BB/9. 5.8 K/9.

 

Borucki was predictably rusty in his first MLB start of 2019 on July 22 vs Cleveland. He lasted 4.2 innings, giving up 4 R but only 2 ER, with 7 hits, 4 walks and 3 strikeouts.

 

In a non-contending season for the Jays and injury shortened one for Borucki, the most important thing is for him to continue to progress toward being the good MLB pitcher he was for most of the 2018 season.

 

Tampa Bay was originally going to go with 2018 AL Cy Young award winner Blake Snell for the Saturday afternoon contest until it was announced that he is having elbow surgery. The Rays could go with a bullpen day for this game, or they may need to make a roster move since Friday’s starter is likely to be used as an opener.

 

Sunday July 28, 1:07 pm

RHP Yonny Chirinos (TB) vs RHP Aaron Sanchez (TOR)

 

Sanchez: Record 3-14. 6.06 era. 5.31 FIP. 1.720 WHIP. 4.96 BB/9. 7.5 K/9

 

A big part of Sanchez’ sub par season to date has been his lack of command. His 4.96 BB/9 innings ranks him dead last among MLB pitchers.

 

His last start seemed to be a step in the right direction. On July 23 he pitched 5 innings against Cleveland, giving up 1 ER on 5 hits. Perhaps the most impressive stat on the night was the zero walks issued to go with 6 strikeouts. While Sanchez has earned the majority of his 14 losses so far in 2019, he stood to be the hard luck loser 1-0 before Justin Smoak tied the game with a solo HR in the 9th. It would be the Jays’ only win of that series.

 

Sanchez last faced the Rays on May 27, preceding Waguespack who made his MLB debut. Sanchez lasted 3 innings, giving up 1 ER on 6 hits, with 2 walks and 1 strikeout. Sanchez and the Jays hope that his last start was a return to form.

 

Chirinos: Record 8-5. 3.29 era. 4.05 FIP. 1.020 WHIP. 1.8 BB/9. 7.8 K/9.

 

Chirinos has pitched very well for the Rays in his sophomore MLB campaign, in fact he has been one of their more reliable starters so far this season.

 

In his last game on July 23 vs the Boston Red Sox, he lasted 5.2 innings, giving up 2 ER on 6 hits, walking none and striking out 5.

 

His last game vs the Blue Jays was on May 27. He pitched 5 innings and didn’t give up a run or a hit. He did walk 2 and strike out 7. He will hope to have similar success in Toronto.

 

Prediction: Given the likelihood that the Rays will use back to back opener/bullpen days, I’m going to give the Blue Jays the benefit of the doubt that they will win one game this series. Tampa Bay should win this series 2-1 as they look to gain ground in their playoff race.

 

 

 

 


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