The Tampa Bay Rays try to snap a two-game losing streak when they face the Toronto Blue Jays in the second of a three-game series between American League East rivals on Tuesday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
The Rays dropped the series opener 8-1 on Monday night. Tampa Bay is 89-55 and atop the AL East standings, leading the second-place Blue Jays by eight games.
Toronto has won four in a row to climb to 81-63. The Blue Jays are one game ahead of both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in the AL East. Toronto has taken over the top spot in the American League Wild Card race as well, with the Yankees and Red Sox one game back.
Tampa Bay may have dropped three of its last four games, but there is no worry among the Rays regarding their spot in the postseason or how they’ll fare when they get there. The team is comfortably ahead in the AL East and simply getting prepared to peak when the postseason begins.
Right-hander Drew Rasmussen will get the call for Tuesday’s game. The 26-year-old is 2-1 with a 3.25 ERA in seven starts and 32 overall appearances between Milwaukee and Tampa Bay.
Since coming to the Rays, Rasmussen is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA. He got the win in his last outing, a start against Boston on Sept. 7 that saw him go five innings and allow one run on six hits.
Outfielder Austin Meadows accounted for the Rays’ lone run on Monday night with a ninth-inning home run. Meadows is batting .205 with four doubles, a home run and eight RBIs against the Blue Jays.
Not Done Yet
The Toronto Blue Jays have climbed up the standings in the AL East and the Wild Card race, but they know that the Red Sox and Yankees are right behind them. Toronto has to keep winning to hold its current spot, which is why it is treating this series like a postseason encounter.
“We know what’s at stake; we know what we’re playing for,” Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah said after Monday’s win. “Huge series right here, got to get as many as we can and keep it going.”
Right-hander Jose Berrios will get the start for the Blue Jays. Berrios is 11-7 with a 3.52 ERA, splitting time between the Minnesota Twins and the Blue Jays.
This will be Berrios’ first start against Tampa Bay this season. He’s won three straight starts, including a victory over the Yankees on Thursday in which he went 6.2 innings and allowed two runs on five hits, including a home run.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. added to his potential AL MVP resume on Monday night, becoming the major league home run leader with his 45th blast. He’s also second in baseball in batting average at .318 and tied for third in RBIs with 103, which is why he’s listed among the favorites in the MVP race on most every sportsbook.
Blue Jays Win Again
Toronto is on a roll with its biggest stars heating up at the plate. Berrios should be able to keep the Rays batters at bay in this one, allowing the Blue Jays to pick up another victory.
When making your MLB picks, take Toronto at home.