BLUE JAYS (21-34) AT RAYS (33-19)
7:10 p.m. ET; FS-SUN, SN1, MLB.TV
The Tampa Bay Rays will be going with their best pitcher, Blake Snell, on Wednesday as they try to complete a sweep of the three-game series against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.
Snell (3-4, 3.07 ERA) will be facing Toronto rookie right-hander Trent Thornton (1-4, 4.42) in the series finale.
The Rays defeated the Blue Jays 3-1 on Tuesday night — before a Rays record-low attendance of 5,786 — when they used five pitchers, including opener Ryne Stanek, who pitched two innings, followed by 3 2/3 innings from Ryan Yarbrough, who earned the win.
Snell, the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2018, will be facing the Blue Jays for the second time this season.
The left-hander did not factor in the decision in the Blue Jays’ 3-1 victory on April 13 at Toronto. Snell pitched six scoreless innings, allowing only a walk and a single.
The Rays are 4-6 this season in games started by Snell after going 22-9 in his starts last season. He is 4-2 with a 2.63 ERA in nine career starts against the Blue Jays and 2-0 with a 0.40 ERA in his last four starts against them. He is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in three starts against them at home.
Snell, who missed time with a broken toe, has been coming on strong, going 1-1, with a 1.48 ERA over his past four starts. He still would like to go deeper into games. He has completed seven innings once this season, on April 2 against the Colorado Rockies.
“I want to complete seven every time,” he said Tuesday. “In order to do that I’ve got to be more consistent. I can’t have deep counts to start the game as well as ending the game.”
Thornton took the loss to the Rays in his third career major league start on April 12. He allowed eight hits, five runs and two walks in three innings against the Rays. Tampa Bay hit three home runs against him, two into the 500 level.
In Thornton’s past three starts, he is 1-0 with a 3.06 ERA with 10 hits and nine walks allowed and 21 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings.
The Blue Jays continue to scuffle as they try to put on a brave face in what they hope is a rebuilding program that eventually bears fruit someday. Already they have recent graduates from the minor league system like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Cavan Biggio, Danny Jansen and Rowdy Tellez.
Blue Jays first-year manager Charlie Montoyo, who coached four years with the Rays after a successful managing career in their organization, uses the success of Tampa Bay as an example.
“You’re teaching winning,” Montoyo said. “That’s what the Rays did. In the minor leagues, we were teaching championship baseball the whole way, so when those guys get here, they’ve been through playoffs already. That’s what we’re trying to do here now. (Bo) Bichette (who is injured) and Vlad (Guerrero) and all those guys won in Double-A, which is great. They know how to win together. I think that’s huge.”
The young Blue Jays are not learning much about winning at the major league level. The team is 7-19 in May.
–Field Level Media