The visiting Tampa Bay Rays will take a seven-game winning streak into the opener of a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night in Dunedin, Fla.
The Rays defeated the host Baltimore Orioles 10-1 on Thursday and are on a high entering the series against the Blue Jays, who suffered a crushing 8-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.
Blue Jays reliever Rafael Dolis allowed three runs in the top of the ninth inning, including the decisive two-run homer to J.D. Martinez with two outs in the rubber match of a three-game series.
It was the first loss of the season for the Blue Jays in the 19 times they have led after eight innings.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said this loss against an American League East rival hurts more, but he was not discouraged about the series.
“Everybody deserves credit. We were just one pitch away or two pitches away,” he said.
Randy Arozarena had four hits, including a three-run homer, and four RBIs for the Rays on Thursday and Joey Wendle had four hits, including two solo homers. The Rays have outscored the opposition 63-23 in their longest winning streak since they won eight straight Aug. 19-26, 2018.
Tampa Bay has scored seven or more runs in five straight games, tying a club record set April 20-26, 2018. Rays batters have hit at least three home runs in four consecutive games, the longest streak in franchise history.
“We’re just having a lot of good at-bats,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The walks have been there just as much as the big hits. I think I know what our numbers were with guys in scoring position before this stretch. We were fairly confident that ultimately it was going to even out. Now, it’s kind of evening out in a big way. It’s happening really fast.”
Wendle said, “I could go through any player on our roster right now and say they’ve come up big for us or had a big hit or driven in runs within the past week or so. It’s hard to explain, but I think one guy feeds off the next guy, and then before you know it, everybody’s seeing the ball well and driving the ball.”
The Rays will start right-hander Tyler Glasnow (4-2, 2.35 ERA). Left-hander Anthony Kay (0-2, 7.24) will start for the Blue Jays. He is 0-0 with a 3.95 ERA in five career outings (one start) against Tampa Bay.
Glasnow is coming off an eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance against the New York Mets last Friday. His worst start of the season came against Toronto at Tropicana Field on April 23, when he allowed five runs in six innings despite striking out 10.
In seven career starts against Toronto, he is 0-3 with a 6.44 ERA.
The Blue Jays are 8-6 against the AL East this season. The Rays are another test for the Blue Jays against a division rival, and a three-game road series against the New York Yankees follows.
“We play them all the time, so I don’t put too much stock in playing them right now,” Montoyo said. “Our first go around against our division was great. I’m hoping we do the same; but, if not, we still have (more than 10 games) left against each. It’s a tough division.”
–Field Level Media