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Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays (55-41, 2nd AL East) vs Toronto Blue Jays (45-49, 5th AL East)


Jul 13, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes (7) and Colby Rasmus (28) celebrate after a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Blue Jays defeated the Orioles 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
It’s about time to begin the resurrection. To rise from the ashes like a Blue Phoenix Jay. Hovering over the fallen as they rip each other to shreds game after game. A bunch of punch drunk fighters. This AL East is brutal and hard and unforgiving. If the Blue Jays are to do this we are looking at 45-23 minimum to get into the playoffs. If we live up to the talent level once and for all we could be looking at an exciting end to the regular season…we can hope.

The Rays finished strong in the first half and find themselves breathing down the neck of the Red Sox. David Price is back in form and the kids (Matt Moore and Chris Archer) are more than holding their own. I expect a dip in their offence but that shouldn’t matter with the pitching they have. The difference between their young guns and our young guns is simple…ours are all rehabbing (Hutchison, Drabek) and theirs, as usual, are pitching well.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: David Price (3-5, 3.94 ERA) vs Esmil Rogers (3-4, 3.64 ERA)
Game 2: Jeremy Hellickson (8-3, 4.67 ERA) vs Mark Buehrle (5-6, 4.89 ERA)
Game 3: Chris Archer (4-3, 2.96 ERA) vs R.A. Dickey (8-10, 4.69 ERA)

Probable Lineups

Tampa Bay Rays

1. CF: Desmond Jennings
2. 2B: Ben Zobrist
3. RF: Wil Myers
4. 3B: Evan Longoria
5. DH: Luke Scott
6. 1B: James Loney
7. LF: Kelly Johnson
8. C: Jose Molina
9. SS: Yunel Escobar

Toronto Blue Jays

1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. RF: Jose Bautista
3. 1B: Edwin Encarnacion
4. DH: Adam Lind
5. CF: Colby Rasmus
6. 3B: Maicer Izturis
7. C: J.P. Arencibia
8. 2B: Brett Lawrie
9. LF: Emilio Bonifacio

I am going to keep this preview simple. No geek stats and whatnot. This is a fresh new beginning. If we all truly believe that this team can win as constructed we are delusional. There is need for pitching and I think we should be targeting Matt Garza. He is only around for this year and shouldn’t cost a ridiculous amount of prospects. Rent-a-pitcher like we did with David Cone, Mike Flanagan, Tom Candiotti and the like. This team should be looked at as starting from 0. Playing 20+ games above .500 is conceivable if not a bit out of reach. It is going to take a lot of faith and hard work. Live up to the pedigrees and we flourish. The thing is can we live up to those lofty expectations? One game at a time. Have fun but don’t goof around. Keep it loose and let the talent shine through. If we don’t sweep this series there is no chance. We need to beat up the East and so far they are kicking our proverbial asses. Time to break the cycle and be the championship hopeful that we are. We need a lot of help but luckily with the unbalanced schedule we can right our wrongs. Let’s hope they find that elusive chemistry and plow through the division.