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Preview: Blue Jays at Rays
Current Conditions – St. Petersburg
M/CLOUDY 85 °F
Wind: SW 12
5-Day Forecast GAME: Toronto Blue Jays (93-67) at Tampa Bay Rays (78-82)
DATE/TIME: Saturday, October 03 – 6:10 PM EST
WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A
Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada can double his previous career high for wins when he goes for his 14th victory Saturday against the host Tampa Bay Rays. Toronto is tied with Kansas City for the best record in the American League and has to like its chances with Estrada, who has not allowed a run in four appearances spanning 21 innings against the Rays this season.
Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki returned to the lineup Friday for the first time since sustaining a cracked shoulder blade on Sept. 12. Tulowitzki is not expected to play Saturday but has been a good-luck charm for Toronto, which is 31-8 with him in the starting lineup. Friday’s 8-4 setback guaranteed that Tampa Bay will have back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 2006-07. Saturday’s starter, Chris Archer, had been superb against the Blue Jays in four starts this season before he was hammered at Toronto in his last turn.
TV: 6:10 p.m. ET, SNET (Toronto), Sun Sports (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.14 ERA) vs. Rays RH Chris Archer (12-13, 3.26)
Estrada surrendered a three-run homer to Baltimore in his last outing, but that was his only mistake as he stretched his unbeaten streak to six starts by giving up three runs on four hits over 7 1/3 innings. It marked the 11th time in 12 starts that Estrada has yielded three runs or fewer, even though he’s been taken deep 11 times in his last nine turns. Estrada has held Tampa Bay to a .106 batting average against this season.
Archer looks to finish on a high note and rebound from a brutal effort at Toronto in his last start, when he was shelled for nine runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings. That outing capped a winless September during which Archer went 0-5 in five starts and struggled with his control, yielding 14 walks in 14 innings over his last three turns. He yielded only four runs and 12 hits in 29 innings in four other starts versus the Jays this season.
1. Rays rookie RF Mikie Mahtook has four homers and eight RBIs in his last eight contests and has three blasts in five games versus Toronto.
2. Blue Jays 1B Edwin Encarnacion has homered in three straight games to leave him two shy of 40 for the season.
3. Rays CF Brandon Guyer tied a major-league record when he was hit by a pitch three times in the series opener.
PREDICTION: Blue Jays 5, Rays 3