The Blue Jays were the hottest team in baseball the last time Tampa Bay faced Toronto. Tampa Bay snapped their 11 game winning streak in that series, effectively relegating the Blue Jays to the cellar of the AL East, and consequently harkening the start of a 20 game stretch where the Rays went 16-4, leading up to the All-Star Break. The Rays will try to continue their toasty ways with a deadly trio of hurlers on the mound — David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, and Chris Archer. The Rays are 7-1 when Price, Hellickson, or Archer has taken the mound since Price’s return from the DL, at the beginning of July.
It would be safe to say that Chris Archer needed a win Sunday. His last few starts — sandwiched between an excellent start against the Orioles on the seventh — left a lot to be desired. Archer seemed to be a bit over amped, and hadn’t been nearly as efficient as most knew he could, and should, have been. Archer quelled the fears of many a Rays fan Sunday, putting together an excellent 6 IP/6 H/1 R/1 ER/1 BB/4 K outing, leading the charge in a 3-1 victory against the Yankees. The Rays will use the accrued momentum when they return to the Trop Monday to take on the charging Toronto Blue Jays.
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.
The Rays come home from their most recent road trip, to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in a four game series at the Trop, starting Monday. This could be a big series for the Rays who went 4-5 on the road, and could walk into a weekend series against a struggling San Diego Padres with a plus .500 record for the first time this season. Both the 11-21 Toronto Blue Jays and the San Diego Padres have struggled handily this season. And though the Rays have struggled as well, Tampa Bay seems primed to use the up coming series as a spring board of sorts to right the ship, especially from the pitching perspective. In short, if ever there was an opportunity to take advantage of a pair of struggling teams, it is now.