Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays

JFtC gets you set for a three game series as the Toronto Blue Jays visit Tropicana field to face the Rays

 

 

 

 

The Blue Jays finish their current road trip with three versus the Rays in Tampa. It is their second of three visits to the Trop this season.

 

Tampa Bay sits in second place in the AL East division, 7.5 games out of first place and leading the second wild card spot by one game over the Oakland Athletics. The Blue Jays are fourth in the AL East, 28 games out of first and 20.5 behind the second wild card.

 

Unfortunately for Toronto, Tampa Bay is the hottest team in MLB right now. They have won six in a row and they are 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Jays have lost their last two after a 5 game win streak (their longest of 2019 to date). They are 6-4 in their last 10.

 

These two teams last met in a wild three game series in Toronto which ended just a week ago. The Jays lost the series 2-1. Toronto’s lone victory saw them trailing 9-2 only to tie the game 9-9 in the 9th and win 10-9 in extra innings. The Rays returned the favour the following day. The Jays jumped out to an 8-1 lead only to see the Rays come back and win 10-9.

 

Eric Sogard, who the Jays traded to the contending Rays back on July 28th, will look to continue his red hot start to his Tampa tenure, although the  .385/.467/.923  that he has hit for them over 4 games is almost certainly not sustainable.

 

Monday August 5  7:10 pm

RHP Jacob Waguespack (TOR) vs RHP Charlie Morton (TB)

 

Waguespack:  Record 2-1. 4.80 era. 4.55 FIP. 1.40 WHIP. 2.7 BB/9. 7.2 K/9.

 

The rookie righty continues his audition for a role in the Jays future. He pitched well in his last game, July 31 vs Kansas City, going 6 innings with 1 run on three hits, with 2 walks and two strikeouts, earning the victory in the Jays sweep of KC. His last game vs the Rays was on July 26. He wasn’t quite as sharp then, pitching 5 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits with three walks and two strikeouts. He will look to build on the success of his last outing.

 

Morton: Record 12-3. 2.78 era. 2.83 FIP. 1.074 WHIP. 2.8 BB/9. 10.9 K/9.

 

35 year old Morton has excelled in his first season for the Rays. His 2.83 FIP leads the AL and he was very deserving of his second straight all star game selection.

 

Morton’s last game was on July 30 vs the Boston Red Sox. Facing the same team two starts in a row might have had something to do with his line of 4.2 innings pitched with 4 runs on 7 hits, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. His last start vs the Jays came way back on April 14th. He also lasted 4.2 innings on that day, giving up 1 run on 4 hits, with 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. Given his strong overall season in 2019, the Jays might have their hands full facing Morton.

 

Tuesday August 6 7:10 pm

RHP Trent Thornton (TOR) vs TBD (TB)

 

Thornton: Record 4-7. 5.23 era. 4.60 FIP. 1.495 WHIP. 3.9 BB/9. 8.7 K/9.

 

Rookie Thornton has spent 2019 in the Blue Jays rotation out of necessity, due to injuries to other starting pitching options and most recently, the trades of veterans Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. At times Thornton has pitched well, at other times not very well.

 

Thornton came off the IL to make his last start on August 1 vs the Baltimore Orioles. He performed well, pitching 6 innings, giving up only one run on 5 hits, with no walks and 2 strikeouts, earning the victory. He didn’t do as well in his last start vs Tampa Bay, back on May 29. He lasted only 4.2 innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits, with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts. He will hope his next start goes more like his last start then his last start vs the Rays.

 

Tampa Bay hasn’t yet announced their starting pitcher for the Tuesday game. They may go with an opener/bullpen day as they did for two of the three games in the recent series in Toronto.

 

Wednesday August 7 1:10 pm

TBD (TOR) vs LHP Brendon McKay (TB)

 

TBD switches dugouts for the Wednesday matinee game, in part due to Ryan Borucki being forced to go back on the IL. Each of the Jays’ current rotation of Waguespack, Thornton, Thomas Pannone and Sean Reid-Foley has less than a year of MLB experience. Wednesday may be a bullpen day for Toronto out of necessity.

 

McKay: Record 2-1. 4.38 era. 3.54 FIP. 1.18 WHIP. 0.7 BB/9. 9.1 K/9.

 

Rookie Brendan McKay has had success for Tampa Bay, in part due to his minuscule 0.7 free passes per 9 innings pitched. His last game came on August 1st vs the Boston Red Sox. He pitched 5.1 innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits with one walk and 7 strikeouts, earning the victory.

 

The rookie southpaw has never faced the Blue Jays.

 

Prediction: In my last series preview, of the Jays vs Rays series in Toronto, I predicted a 2-1 Rays series victory. Interestingly enough I was correct, though I’m not going to claim I knew how they would get to that result. I’m going with the same prediction here. Morton may be too much for the young Jays team and they always seem to have trouble against pitchers they have never faced such as McKay. I’m going to hope Thornton is back on track and will get the victory in the middle game.

 

 

 

 


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