Blue Jays series preview: Can Toronto answer the pitching of the Rays?

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Apr 15, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle delivers a pitch against Tampa Bay Rays in front of an image of Jackie Robinson during the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The series finale on Sunday will see the veteran Mark Buehrle looking for his fourth win in as many starts for the Blue Jays.  Through April, Buehrle has been exactly what the Blue Jays need him to be: a steady source of 6.0 innings pitched that keeps the offense within firing distance.

Buehrle has been hit hard, though, with 23 base bits pushing his current WHIP to 1.50.  He holds a 7-3 career record at Tropicana Field, however, and should benefit from pounding the strike zone against an uncertain lineup.

Unfortunately, the electrifying Chris Archer will counter for the Tampa Bay Rays and look to continue on his dominant start to the 2015 season.  Archer’s 2-2 record should be much better, as he enters play with a 1.07 ERA and 0.83 WHIP.  He’s struck out 20 batters over his last 12.2 innings pitched, and an earned run hasn’t crossed the plate.

One of those outings was his 11 strikeout performance against the Blue Jays last week, where Toronto’s hitters looked beyond baffled throughout his start.  A second look at the 2015 version of Archer should help, especially if they are able to eat into the bullpen behind him earlier in this series, but game three should prove to be a daunting task.

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