Toronto Blue Jays set for divisional clash with Rays

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Jun 20, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) celebrates with Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Joey Butler (9) after hitting a three-run home run against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Across the Diamond:  Tampa Bay Rays

Take everything you know about the Toronto Blue Jays and reverse it.  The Rays have scored well over 100 runs fewer than Toronto, ranking them 25th in the league.  Their pitching has kept them afloat, however, with their 3.31 team ERA good for third in the Major Leagues.  Tampa Bay’s pitching staff also boasts the league’s lowest opponent’s batting average at .236.

In the battle of an unstoppable force versus an immovable object, Toronto will need their pitching to hold the line against a fairly tame lineup.  The athletically-gifted Steven Souza has added some much-needed pop to the Rays lineup by supplying 14 home runs, but his .225 average has balanced that out.  Both Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe have added seven long balls apiece while hovering around the .275 mark.

One surprising bat uncovered by Tampa Bay this season has been DH/OF Joey Butler, who has jumped out to a .336 average with six home runs and 19 RBIs in just 146 at-bats.  Butler had been a career Minor League standout, but much like Toronto’s own Chris Colabello, he has become an unexpected source of offense at a position of need.

Next: Series opener: Hutchison needs some stability