The Tampa Bay Rays seek a two-game sweep of their series against the Toronto Blue Jays with a victory at the Rogers Centre Thursday night
Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay owns the best road record in the majors and captured a 6-5 victory last night in Toronto, winning for the 12th time in 13 games away from Tropicana Field. Rays outfielder Matt Joyce continues to enjoy a breakthrough year, going 1-for-3 from the plate and hitting a two-run homer in the third inning. The 26-year-old is hitting .414 with nine RBIs over the past nine games. Second baseman Ben Zobrist has also contributed in a big way offensively, hitting safely in 13 of 16 games in May, helping the club move past the offseason departures of outfielder Carl Crawford and first baseman Carlos Pena. Tampa Bay is 7-3 versus left-handed starters this year and 73-55 the past three campaigns.
Rays starting pitcher Wade Davis is 4-3 with a 3.47 ERA in eight starts this season and the club has won five of his last six outings. The right-hander picked up a 6-0 home loss last time out against the Orioles, surrendering four runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. Davis has tallied a 2-1 mark and 3.57 ERA in three road starts, but has issued 11 walks in 17 2/3 frames. In four career starts versus the Blue Jays, he is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA and will be making his second appearance against them this year. He picked up a no decision in that home effort, giving up two runs and six hits over six innings.
Toronto had its six-game winning streak snapped Wednesday and lost for the sixth time in nine tries at the Rogers Centre. The defense committed five errors in the defeat, which sent the 14,415 fans home displeased in the team’s effort. “It’s somewhat inexplicable, we have been playing very good baseball,” said manager John Farrell. “I think the miscues, the hole we dug ourselves, were too much to come back from tonight.” The Blue Jays are now just 9-9 at home this season, following a year in which they finished 12 games above .500 at the venue. Toronto is 15-17 versus right-handed starters this season.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero is coming off a brilliant start and will look to even up his record against the Rays. The left-hander tossed 8 2/3 shutout innings at Minnesota last time out, scattering four hits while striking out eight. Romero will be making his fifth home start of the year, coming in with a 1-2 mark and 3.75 ERA. In six previous outings versus Tampa Bay, he has compiled a 2-3 record and 4.12 ERA, including a 2-0 home loss on April 24. The 27-year-old managed to strike out a season-high 10 batters in that effort.
Bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 6-1 mark in Davis’ last seven road starts, while the Blue Jays are 2-5 in Romero’s last seven outings.