American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, August 30th
(All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (71-59) at Toronto Blue Jays (58-71), 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Matt Moore (10-7, 3.60)
Toronto - Carlos Villanueva (6-4, 3.30)
(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays hope to catch a break with their
upcoming four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays before they engage in a
battle with a few American League powerhouses.
The Rays will invade Rogers Centre tonight for the series opener before taking
on the Yankees twice, Rangers, Orioles and Red Sox. They salvaged the finale
of a three-game set in Texas with last night's 8-4 win behind four home runs,
two of which off the bat of Evan Longoria.
Longoria has homered three times in as many games, while B.J. Upton and Elliot
Johnson both went deep for Tampa Bay, which also halted a four-game slide and
sits just one-half game off the Wild Card lead. Tampa Bay also is four games
behind New York for AL East bragging rights.
"We knew we had to jump out to a quick lead and we did that," Upton said. "We
kind of kept our foot down and didn't stop."
Jeff Keppinger collected four hits against the Rangers and Alex Cobb settled
with a no-decision for giving up four runs -- three earned -- and eight hits
in 4 2/3 innings. Jake McGee posted the win in relief with a scoreless sixth
Matt Moore will take on the Blue Jays tonight and he is 4-0 in his last six
starts. Moore did not factor in the outcome of a 5-4 loss to Oakland on Friday
and gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings of work. The left-hander, who is 10-7
in 25 starts with a 3.60 earned run average, defeated Toronto with six solid
innings on Aug. 9 and allowed one run in a 7-1 decision.
Moore is 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA in two career starts against the Jays -- both of
which have occurred this season.
Toronto is back up north following a rare series win at Yankee Stadium and is
coming off Wednesday afternoon's 8-5 victory.
Yunel Escobar had a big day against New York, going 4-for-5 with three
doubles, two runs scored, a home run and five RBI. Edwin Encarnacion, Adam
Lind and Jeff Mathis each drove in a run to help the Jays take two out of
three matchups with the Yankees following a seven-game skid.
"It epitomized a game in which we had contributions from a number of guys. It
was a very good game all around," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell.
The Blue Jays secured their first series win since July 27-29 against the
Detroit Tigers (2-1). Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ allowed four runs on four
hits and five walks with six strikeouts over five innings for the win. Happ is
now 3-1 in nine games -- five starts -- since being acquired from Houston.
Casey Janssen recorded his 17th save of the season in the ninth inning.
Toronto, which is scheduled to host Baltimore as well on this seven-game
homestand, will pin pitching duties on the struggling Carlos Villanueva
tonight. Villanueva is 0-4 in his past five starts and was banged around for
four runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 6-4 loss at Baltimore on Friday.
Villanueva lost to the Rays on Aug. 8 and is 0-2 with an 11.93 earned run
average in seven career games (2 starts) against them. The right-hander has
made 32 overall appearances this season, 10 of which have been starts, and is
6-4 with a 3.30 ERA. He is 4-1 in 17 games (6 starts) at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays have struggled against Tampa Bay this season, going just 2-9,
and have lost the previous five matchups between the clubs.
08/30 10:32:25 ET