After winning the first two games of the set against the Blue Jays — 6-2 on Friday and 5-3 on Saturday — the Tampa Bay Rays look for a series sweep with a win on Sunday, which would allow the team to get back to .500 for the first time since March 30th. The Rays have won six consecutive home games, and one more win would give them their first seven-game win streak at the Trop since 2013, when they last made the postseason.
Chris Archer (2-2, 6.05 ERA) will get the start for Tampa Bay, pitching opposite of Marco Estrada (2-2, 6.19 ERA).
Chris Archer allowed two runs on six hits and a walk over six innings on Tuesday. He struck out six. Archer scattered baserunners for the most part, allowing single runs in the third and fifth innings en route to his second quality start of the season. The right-hander pitched well enough to earn a win, however, Matthew Boyd twirled a gem of his own on the other end, and sunk him to his second loss. Archer wasn’t too impressive over his first four starts, although he’s gone at least six innings while allowing exactly two earned runs in two of his last three outings to lower his bloated ERA to 6.05. With a .365 BABIP but a 3.10 FIP over the last 14-days, it would be pretty safe to safe Archer has been dragon-bit to an extent. Archer has been pretty successful against Toronto in his career, going 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA, although many of the faces in the Blue Jays lineup have had limited experience against the right-hander.
Archer spoke on the importance of trying to sweep the Blue Jays in order to get series’ back following the slow start to the 2018 campaign:
(Credit: Rays Radio)
Marco Estrada allowed four runs on seven hits in a no-decision against Minnesota on Tuesday. He struck out three and walked one over five innings. The 34 year-old hurler gave up a solo home run to Joe Mauer and an RBI double to Eddie Rosario in the first inning, then put up zeros until the sixth inning when he was knocked out of the game by Rosario’s two-run homer. Long balls have been a problem for Estrada, as he’s now given up nine homers over 32 innings of work. Over the last four games, the right-hander has allowed 18 runs in 19 innings, inflating his ERA to 6.19 on the season. This season, Estrada has relied primarily on his whiffy 89 mph four-seam fastball and a 78 mph backspin heavy circle changeup, while also mixing in an 86 mph cutter and a 78 mph 12-6 curveball. Key Matchups: CJ Cron (2-5, HR, 3 RBI), Matt Duffy (1-3, 2B, 3 RBI), Carlos Gomez (1-1, BB), Wilson Ramos (3-8, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Daniel Robertson (3-6, RBI, BB), Jesus Sucre (1-2, HR, RBI)
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 5/6/18 Starting Lineup
— Far be it from any of us to take credit for the Rays’ recent spate of success at home, but…
— When not striking out at a +35% clip, Carlos Gomez moonlights as a minion:
Eyeing that sweep… pic.twitter.com/efQQJvrnp0
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 6, 2018
— CB Bucknor didn’t have a good night behind the plate on Saturday, especially against left-handed hitters:
— I know it’s still too early in the season to hypothesize about anything, though I do tend to overanalyze numbers in small sample sizes, however, the Rays have overtaken the Blue Jays as it relates to the odds of a postseason berth (per Baseball Prospectus).
FanGraphs is far more pessimistic on the subject.
— Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) reported that RHP Nathan Eovaldi (arthroscopic elbow surgery) came through his Friday rehab start with the Stone Crabs well, with another start likely Wednesday.
— Topkin also wrote that it will be interesting to see how much longer the Rays stick with Sergio Romo. The veteran reliever has been struggling, as his 6.75 ERA shows, and the homer he allowed is the fourth in his past seven outings.