Series Preview: Blue Jays Looking to Lock Down AL East vs Rays

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Sep 19, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey (43) acknowledges the crowd after being relieved during the seventh inning in a game against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. The Boston Red Sox won 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1: Jake Odorizzi (8-8, 3.38 ERA) vs R.A. Dickey (10-11, 4.05 ERA)

Odorizzi is another in a long line of home-grown pitchers that the Rays have developed into a great major league starter. He has faltered a bit against the Blue Jays so far this season with a 5.11 ERA but don’t let that fool you. He is someone who could keep the Blue Jays’ bats silent and cause problems in the quest for the division title.

He hasn’t gone more than 6 innings in his last three starts so it is possible he is running out of gas as the season winds down. He is closing in on his career high in innings pitched set last year but his peripherals are much better this season than 2014 (1.28 WHIP in 2014, 1.14 WHIP in 2015). One thing to temper enthusiasm is that his strikeout numbers are way down from last season so he has been more hittable. Let’s hope that flows into tonight’s game.

R.A. Dickey has been a solid mid-rotation type. His ERA doesn’t reflect how well his season is really going lately. His ERA on turf and at home is noticeably better, by almost 2 runs a game. Under the dome his knuckler can dance and is much more effective than when the breeze flows through when the roof is open. Regardless of the gorgeous evening, expect the dome to be closed to help Dickey get by the pesky Rays. His ERA is 2.83 in September and 2.98 since the all-star break. He is on his game and should provide a great matchup vs Odorizzi.

Next: Game 2 Preview: THE pitching matchup to see