Blue Jays series preview and pitching matchups: Home for the Rays
The Blue Jays head home from Texas for three games against the Tampa Bay Rays
The Toronto Blue Jays return home for a three-game set against the division rival Tampa Bay Rays on Monday after their fight-filled affair in Texas. Toronto is 3-3 in the last week and 8-6 in the month of May.
Tampa Bay opened the month hot, sweeping the Angels in Los Angeles, but they have dropped five of their last six and currently sit fourth in the American League East.
Despite Toronto’s offensive struggles, the starting rotation continues to keep the roster afloat around the .500 mark. J.A. Happ, Marcus Stroman, and R.A. Dickey are scheduled to start against the Rays.
Following the placement of reliever Brett Cecil on the disabled list with a left triceps injury and the recall of Dustin Antolin, rookie Chad Girodo remains the only left-hander available. Before we look at each individual pitching matchup for the series ahead, let’s first look across the diamond at the Rays.
Across the Diamond: Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa isn’t winning with their bats. The Rays have scored 128 runs in 2016, putting them third-last in baseball ahead of only the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.
They’ve done this in a very top-heavy way, though, as they curiously are tied for fourth in all of baseball with 50 team home runs. This helps to counterbalance their league-worst average of .221 and low on-base percentage of .296.
Logan Forsythe has been placed on the disabled list with a hairline fracture in his shoulder, so the Blue Jays will miss out on one of Tampa’s most dangerous offensive contributors. The second-baseman had been hitting .308 with a .922 OPS.
Brandon Guyer has been the star at the plate, though, with his average still sitting at .338. The left-fielder isn’t necessarily producing much by way of power or extra-base hits, but balls are finding grass for him. Steven Souza Jr. leads the team with eight home runs while Evan Longoria has 18 runs batted in and 12 doubles.
Monday’s series opener pits two strong lefties against one another in Happ and Drew Smyly. On to the full previews of the three pitching matchups ahead…
Next: Game 1 Preview: Happ looks to remain a sneaky ace