RAYS (59-47) AT BLUE JAYS (39-66)
3:07 p.m. ET; SN, FS-SUN, MLB.TV
Even as injuries hamper the Tampa Bay Rays in their pursuit of a playoff spot, they still can find a way to beat the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Rays, reeling from the loss of 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell for at least four weeks, will attempt to defeat the Blue Jays for the seventh time in eight games when the teams meet Saturday afternoon in Toronto.
The Rays defeated the Blue Jays 3-1 Friday night in the opener of a three-game series and are 19-7 against them over the past two seasons.
With Snell scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery Monday for loose bodies in his left elbow, Tampa Bay will go with an opener Saturday, right-hander Andrew Kittredge (1-0, 2.55 ERA), with left-hander Jalen Beeks (5-1, 3.69 ERA) to follow and get the bulk of the work.
Beeks is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in three career games against the Blue Jays. He allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings in his only appearance against Toronto this season.
Left-hander Ryan Borucki (0-1, 3.86 ERA) will make his second start of the season for the Blue Jays after spending most of the season on the injured list due to left elbow inflammation. He allowed four runs (two earned) over 4 2/3 innings in a 7-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians (-1.5) on Monday.
In three outings against the Rays last season, he was 0-3 with a 3.66 ERA.
“We’re going to find out a lot about ourselves over the next month, four to six weeks, whenever Blake gets back,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “You can’t deny that. But we’re not in a position where we can let it affect us too much because we’re right in the thick of things. We’ve got to continue to find ways to play good baseball and sketch out some wins here.”
The Rays have had a series of injuries after a 14-4 start to the season. Eight players from the Opening Day roster are on the injured list: left-hander Jose Alvarado, infielder Yandy Diaz, right-hander Tyler Glasnow, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, infielder/outfielder Brandon Lowe, infielder Daniel Robertson, right-hander Ryne Stanek and Snell.
“We’re going to have to find ways to continue to be creative,” Cash said. “I think it’s fair to assume we’re going to have to use some guys that are in Triple-A, and lengthen out some of the (pitchers) that are here.
“I don’t foresee us going out and finding a starter. You’re not going to find a starter that’s going to replace Blake Snell. We certainly have the depth and are equipped to handle a big workload. It’s going to take these guys really getting on a good run to do that.”
The Blue Jays have lost six of their past eight home games, and they are 19-33 at Rogers Centre. They are 27 games below .500 for the first time this season.
Toronto has scored three or fewer runs in five consecutive games, matching a season worst established June 6-11.
“We were hot for a while, but we have been facing some good pitching,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “The Rays have good pitching, and Cleveland (Toronto’s previous opponent) has good pitching. So we have to make the adjustments.”
–Field Level Media