The Tampa Bay Rays ride into Toronto Monday on a huge wave of momentum, following the Rays 3-1 win against — and series sweep of — the Baltimore Orioles. Sunday’s match-up wasn’t a high scoring affair like the previous two games, however the Rays scored just enough to win the game, while Matt Moore shut the door on the Orioles in an excellent outing. Matt Moore became the second left handed starter age 24 or younger to start a season 8-0, following an outstanding 7.0 IP/5 H/1 R/1 ER/1 BB/3 K outing. The first pitcher to do so? Oh, just some guy named Babe Ruth.
Moore certainly wasn’t overpowering, only striking out three Orioles hitters. He was able to smother any of the Orioles uprisings though, giving up just one hit in four wRISP scenarios. You wouldn’t know that Moore has had a problem with walking batters by looking at his final line; Moore walked only one Sunday. If there is one criticism of Moore’s outing, it would be the number of three ball counts he got himself into. He, however, was able to execute the perfect pitch, inducing a good numbers of ground-outs and pop-outs.
The surging Tampa Bay Rays have now won eight of their last ten games, while the Blue Jays have lost their last two games, going five-and-five over the same ten game stretch. We — for the most part — are familiar with what the Blue Jays have to offer since both teams faced off against one another on their recent ten-game home stand. The Rays are now three games over .500 for the first time this season, tied with the Orioles for third place in the AL East. Though a series win against the Jays may not help Tampa Bay with divisional placement, it would provide a springboard of momentum for the Rays who are set to take on the Yankees in the following series.
Rays Hitters Vs. the Blue Jays Series Starters
RA Dickey: Per Rotowire, “Dickey will take the mound Monday against Tampa Bay, as Sunday’s game at the Yankees has been postponed due to the weather, Sportsnet reports.” The Rays last saw Dickey a few weeks back at the Trop in a game where he posted a 6.0 IP/5 H/3 R/2 ER/ 5 BB/5 HR slash line. Dickey improved on things in his following start against the Giants, giving up two runs on six hits, while striking out 10 and walking two. As has been his year, it’s kind of hard to guess which RA Dickey you’ll face. Only one thing is certain: he’s not the dominant pitcher that he was in 2012. The hot hitting Tampa Bay Rays will look to pounce on Dickey and the Blue Jays Monday, though you can’t rule out the idea that he could string together a second consecutive quality start. Too, Dickey’s numbers against the Rays don’t really make a compelling argument in favor of Tampa Bay. Key Match-ups: Kelly Johnson (2-7, 2B, BB).
Ramon Ortiz: Per Rotowire, “Ortiz will make his scheduled start Tuesday against the Rays, Barry Davis of Sportsnet reports.” The current Rays have little-to-no experience against the 39 year-old Ramon Ortiz. In fact, only three players have accrued any at-bats against the fastball/slider/changeup pitcher — Kelly Johnson, James Loney, and Luke Scott. Largely a pitch to contact pitcher, hitters have made Ortiz pay for any mistakes, especially on his two-seam fastball. Key Match-ups: Kelly Johnson (2-5, HR, 3 RBI), Luke Scott (2-5, 3B).
Mark Buehrle: Per Rotowire, “Buehrle allowed five runs on six hits, walking three and striking out four over six-plus innings of a 5-0 loss to the Yankees on Friday night.” Tampa Bay lost to the Blue Jays by a score of 8-7 the last time the Rays faced Buehrle. It should be noted that the Jays win had absolutely nothing to to with Buerhle’s performance though. Buehrle got tagged for seven runs (all earned) on nine hits — including a pair of homers — and two walks in a six inning outing. His last outing against the Yankees wasn’t much better, posting six innings of five run ball. The Rays have now posted a combined .324 BA/.356 OBP/.468 SLG/.824 OPS slash line, with eight players hitting over .300 against Buehrle. Key Match-ups: Yunel Escobar (4-9, 2B, RBI, BB), Sam Fuld (1-3), Desmond Jennings (1-3, BB), Kelly Johnson (3-9, RBI), James Loney (3-9, 2 2B), Evan Longoria (6-18, 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Jose Molina (9-27, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Sean Rodriguez (4-10, 2B, RBI).
- Tampa Bay split the recent four-game series with the Blue Jays at two games apiece.
- The Rays seek their 13th win in 18 games at Rogers Centre on Monday.
- Per Yahoo Sports, “The Blue Jays were outscored 12-2 in those two games in New York after posting a 36-15 margin in their previous four.”
- The Rays have outscored the Blue Jays 93-54 in their last 17 road games in the series.
- Monday marks Jake Odorizzi’s debut with the Rays. Odorizzi is 4-0 with a 3.83 ERA in eight starts at Triple-A Durham this season. He was 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in his first two major league starts last September with the Royals, both against Cleveland.
- Also per Yahoo Sports, “Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria doubled off the right-hander in that game as part of his career-high, 13-game hit streak. Longoria, batting .385 (20 for 52) during that run, is 17 for 33 (.515) during an eight-game hit streak against the Blue Jays.”