Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays @ Tampa Bay Rays (Sep 2-4)

The Blue Jays are on their second leg of a three city road trip. Their three game series with the pesky Rays starts tonight.

After an off-day the Blue Jays head south to Tampa for a three game set with the pesky Rays. Toronto is now (76-57) on the season, and have won 6 of their last 10. At the moment the Blue Jays have a 2 game lead over Boston in the American League East. The Rays (56-76) sit 19.5 games back of Toronto at the moment, and are 4-6 over their last 10 games.

The Blue Jays have a solid 36-29 record on the road this season, while Tampa is 32-37 at Tropicana Field in 2016.

Pitching:

TOR- (Starters) 3.72 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 1.12 HR/9, 7.6 K/9, .238/.301/.398

TBR- (Starters) 4.14 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 1.30 HR/9, 8.8 K/9, .252/.311/.414

TOR – (Relievers) 3.95 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 1.15 HR/9, 9.0 K/9, .253/.313/.412

TBR- (Relievers) 4.16 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 1.34 HR/9, 8.5 K/9, .262/.328/.417

Offenses:

Toronto – R/G 4.91 – .250/.329/.440 – 449 XBH – 8.4 K/G

Baltimore – R/G 4.20 – .243/.310/.427 – 439 XBH – 9.0 K/G

History: The Blue Jays and Rays have played each other 327 times, with Tampa having an edge in the all-time series with a 172-155 record. Tampa holds their own at home with a 96-67 record over that span. This marks the fifth series this season these two teams will play; Tampa holds the edge in the season series 7-6, but Toronto is 4-3 at Tropicana in 2016.

Game 1

First Pitch – 7:10 EST

M. Stroman RHP (2016: 9-5, 4.58 ERA) vs. A. Cobb RHP (2016: 8-10, 5.51 ERA)

The Blue Jays will send Marcus Stroman to the mound on Friday night to start the series. Stroman who is (9-5, 4.58 ERA, 1.293 WHIP, 7.5 K/9) on the season is coming off a rough last start, but has been excellent in his previous 7-8 games.

Over his career the Long Island native has a (3-2, 4.96 ERA, 1.469 WHIP, 7.2 K/9) when facing Tampa. This also includes a (2-1, 4.57 ERA, 1.246 WHIP, 6.6 K/9) record over three starts this season. The right-hander also has a (3-0, 2.45 ERA, 0.909 WHIP, 7.4 K/9) all-time at Tropicana Field.

Stroman has been solid sway from the Rogers Centre this season with a (5-4, 4.23 ERA, 1.301 WHIP, 8.0 K/9) road record in 2016.

Tampa will send the newly returned Alex Cobb the mound to counter Stroman. Cobb will be making his first since September of 2014 after missing all last season with UCL replacement surgery.

During his career he has a (2-2, 4.63 ERA, 1.243 WHIP, 7.3 K/9) record when facing the Blue Jays.

Cobb always pitches well at Tropicana, as his (17-13, 3.08 ERA, 1.156 WHIP, 8.2 K/9) career record shows.

Game 2

First Pitch – 6:10 EST

Estrada RHP (2016: 8-6, 3.37 ERA) vs. C. Archer RHP (2016: 8-17, 4.10 ERA)

Toronto will send Marco Estrada to the mound on Saturday evening. Estrada is (8-6, 3.37 ERA, 1.081 WHIP, 8.2 K?9) on the season, and is coming off an excellent outing in Baltimore.

Over his career he is (1-2, 1.24 ERA, 0.771 WHIP, 9.2 K/9) when facing the Rays, including a one start this season where he took a loss in a 5IP, 7H, 2ER performance.

Estrada has pitched well at Tropicana Field over his career, and sports a (0-0, 1.04 ERA, 0.462 WHIP, 9.9 K/9) record in four appearances, including two starts.

He’s also (5-1, 3.44 ERA, 1.005 WHIP, 7.5 K/9) away from Rogers Centre this season.

Tampa Bay will counter with their ace Chris Archer. Archer is not having a great season at (8-17, 4.10 ERA, 1.266 WHIP, 10.8 K/9) but has pitched much better in the second half of the season.

Over his career he is (6-4, 3.25 ERA, 1.157 WHIP, 9.0 K/9) when facing Toronto, including (1-1, 3.18 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, 12.2 K/9) in three starts in 2016.

Archer hasn’t always gotten results when pitching at home as his career (17-25, 3.20 WHIP, 1.156 WHIP, 9.8 K/9) record at home can attest. Despite pitching well at Tropicana in 2016 (3-9, 2.61 ERA, 1.115 WHIP, 10.7 K/9) the results are much the same.

Game 3

First Pitch – 1:10 EST

J. Happ LHP (2016: 17-4, 3.23 ERA) vs. B. Snell LHP (2016: 4-7, 3.56 ERA)

The final game of the series will see J.A. Happ take the ball. Happ at (17-4, 3.23 ERA, 1.151 WHIP, 7.9 K/9) will be looking to grab his 18th win of the season. 

The lefty has not fared well in his career against the Rays at (3-3, 4.87 ERA, 1.392 WHIP, 8.2 K/9) including a (1-1, 5.66 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 8.7 K/9) record this season. It should be noted that his ERA is skewed heavily by the one bat outing in May. In his other three starts against the Rays this season he is carrying an ERA of 2.41.

Happ hasn’t had the best luck at Tropicana Field over his career with a (1-1, 5.93 ERA, 1.582 WHIP, 7.4 K/9) record. with a (0-0, 3.55 ERA, 1.342 WHIP, 7.8 K/9) in two starts in 2016

The Illinois native is (7-2, 3.39 ERA, 1.094 WHIP, 6.8 K/9) on the road this season. 

The Rays will counter Happ with rookie pitcher Blake Snell on Sunday. Snell sits at (4-7, 3.56 ERA, 1.654 WHIP, 9.5 K/9) this season, but has not made it passed the fourth inning in his last two starts.

The left-hander has one career against Toronto. A 1.2 IP, 5H, 5R, 2ER, 1 HR performance.

Snell has pitched decent at home this season, and sports a (3-4, 3.66 ERA, 1.754 WHIP, 10.3 K/9) record at Tropicana Field.

 

*All Pitcher vs Batter Stats provided by ESPN
**Featured Image Credit: sjg08 (Flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

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