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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, September 28th (All times Eastern)

Tampa Bay Rays (90-70) at Toronto Blue Jays (73-87), 7:07 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Chris Archer (9-7, 3.21) Toronto - J.A. Happ (4-7, 4.85)

(Sports Network) - Now is not the time for the Tampa Bay Rays to tighten up.

The Rays were riding a seven-game win streak until they opened a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays with a loss. The Rays still control their own playoff destiny and will try to even this set up north Saturday afternoon from Rogers Centre.

Tampa Bay and Cleveland are even atop the American League wild card standings and Texas is just a game off. The Rays need to win their next two games to guarantee a postseason berth and host the wild card game at Tropicana Field.

"We really still are in the driver's seat," Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said. "It's not like we're playing catch-up at this point."

In Friday's 6-3 loss to the Jays, Tampa Bay committed three errors and starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson was roughed up for six runs, three of which were earned, and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Delmon Young homered and Ben Zobrist went 3-for-3 with a home run for the Rays, who were victimized by a four-run fourth inning by Toronto.

Chris Archer has a big task ahead of him Saturday, when he takes the mound for the Rays. The Rays have won each of Archer's last three outings, including a 5-4 victory over Baltimore on Monday. Archer was reached for four runs in 4 1/3 innings and is 9-7 in 22 starts with a 3.21 earned run average.

Archer, a right-hander, possesses a 4-4 mark in 10 road starts this season and has faced Toronto twice in his career, going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA.

Toronto won for the second time in six tries Friday, as Moises Sierra recorded a pair of hits and two RBI to lead the charge. Ryan Goins had two hits and an RBI and Jose Reyes scored twice for the Blue Jays.

Knuckleballer and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey held the playoff-hopeful Rays to two runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings and Sergio Santos pitched the rest of the way for his first save.

"He had a good year," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Dickey. "It was his 14th win, and for a team below .500, you'll take that."

Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind missed Friday's game with back soreness and is day-to-day.

"We're waiting on him now. He was going to go out and take some swings and get a better idea," Gibbons said Friday. "We'll go day by day with him."

J.A. Happ draws the start for Gibbons' club Saturday and has a 4-7 mark in 17 starts with a 4.85 ERA. Happ is only 1-5 in his last six decisions and lost to the Chicago White Sox in Monday's 3-2 defeat, charged with three runs and eight hits through five innings. Happ, a lefty, is 1-5 in eight home starts and 1-1 with an 8.44 ERA in four starts against the Rays.

Tampa Bay is 10-7 against Toronto this season and has won five of the previous seven encounters between the AL East foes.

09/28 10:39:30 ET