After tagging the Boston Red Sox for 42 runs over their last four games, culminating in a series sweep, the Tampa Bay Rays look to keep the ball rolling against the
Toronto Buffalo Blue Jays Bisons in a three-game road set starting Friday. The Blue Jays are coming off a series split with the Marlins.
The Rays turned things around after scuffling in the second and third series of the truncated season. Because of it, they enter the three-game set against the Blue Jays four-games over .500 with a 96.5% chance of a playoff berth (per FanGraphs) with 40 games left to play.
In Boston, the Rays…
- Scored their most runs and hits since July 12, 2019
- Notched their first four-game sweep since September 5-8 2019
- Collected the second four-game sweep against the Red Sox in club history
- Hit four home runs in back-to-back games for the fourth time in club history.
- And because they scored 42 runs in the series, they currently lead all of baseball in runs scored.
Because of their hot spate of play, Tampa Bay’s ISO, wOBA, wRC+, and wRAA all increased significantly, as has their BABIP, making them a far more formidable opponent than they were two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jay’s young lineup hasn’t quite lived up to their lofty expectations through the first three weeks of the season. And while they boast a ton of potential — led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Kavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette — they haven’t been able to consistently manufacture offense. To their credit, Wednesday’s 11-run output was a step in the right direction.
It bears mentioning, the Rays pitching staff allowed 11 two-out runs against Boston, something that was buried given the offenses explosive output. They will need to rein it in and fast, starting yesterday.
Over the next three days, Kevin Cash will lean on Trevor Richards (0-0, 5.79 ERA), Ryan Yarbrough (0-2, 4.71 ERA) and Yonny Chirinos (0-0, 1.04 ERA) will pitch at some point over the weekend. This piece will be updated as Kevin Cash’s pitching plan becomes clear. Charlie Montoyo will counter with Tanner Roark (1-1, 5.63 ERA), Chase Anderson (0-0, 3.00), and Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.86 ERA).
Trevor Richards covered four innings out of the bullpen Sunday against the Yankees, surrendering two runs (zero earned) on four hits and two walks while punching out four. Richards entered the contest in the top of the third inning with no outs and a runner on first base after Charlie Morton departed early with right shoulder inflammation. The right-hander started 23 games last season between Miami and Tampa Bay.
Tanner Roark gave up four runs on three hits (two homers) and five walks across three innings against the Red Sox. He struck out one. The right-hander was making his first start since July 28, due to the Blue Jays’ scheduling chaos, and the time off clearly affected him. Roark threw just 31 of 68 pitches for strikes (46% strike rate) before he got the hook. He relies primarily on a worm-killer 90 mph four-seam fastball, while also mixing in an 89 mph two-seam fastball/sinker with little sinking action, an 85 mph 12-6 slider, an 85 mph cutter with good “rise” and has strong cutting action, a 73 mph curveball with exceptional bite, and a 79 mph changeup. Roark is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in two starts against Tampa Bay. Key Matchup: José Martínez (2-6)
Ryan Yarbrough gave up four runs on five hits and two walks over 4-1/3 innings on Monday. He struck out one. He didn’t have his best stuff, getting tagged for three runs in the first inning, but Yarbrough was able to settle down and limit the damage the rest of the way. He threw 49 of 77 pitches for strikes (64% strike rate) although he didn’t complete at least five innings for the first time in four starts. Yarbrough is 6-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 10 outings (42 IP) against Toronto, and
Chase Anderson allowed one run on a hit and two walks while fanning one in three innings of work against the Red Sox on Saturday. Anderson threw 26 of his 45 pitches for strikes (58% strike rate). He missed a couple of weeks due to an oblique strain, although he pitched fairly well in a short debut. His only run came on a Christian Vazquez single. The right-hander pitched to a 4.21 ERA and 1.27 WHIP with 124 strikeouts across 139 innings last season with Milwaukee. He still may need a few weeks to get to a starter’s workload. Anderson relies primarily on 93 mph four-seam fastball and a whiffy 78 mph curveball with exceptional bite, while also mixing in an 89 mph cutter, and an 84 mph circle changeup with a ton of added backspin. He has never faced the Rays. Key Matchups: Manuel Margot (2-8), Hunter Renfroe (2-7, 2 2B)
Yonny Chirinos, in his last start before he hit the Injured List, allowed one run on five hits and two walks while striking out three across 4-2/3 innings in a loss to the Orioles. Chirinos increased his pitch count in his second to 72 pitches in his second start of the season, however, expect him to be on a short leash if he takes the mound this weekend. Chirinos is 2-0 with a 6.31 ERA in six outings (25-2/3 IP) against the Blue Jays.
Matt Shoemaker allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and no walks while punching out six across six innings on Sunday against the Red Sox. Shoemaker allowed two solo homers, one to Mitch Moreland and the other to Rafael Devers, however, the only other hit he allowed was a single to Jackie Bradley Jr. Shoemaker has a bloated 4.86 ERA after getting hit hard in his second outing, yet he has recorded quality starts in his other two turns. The soft-tossing right-hander limited the Rays to one run on three hits and two walks across six innings back on July 25.