American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, July 21st
(All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (57-41) at Toronto Blue Jays (45-51), 1:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Chris Archer (4-3, 2.96)
Toronto - R.A. Dickey (8-10, 4.69)
(Sports Network) - The hottest team in the American League East tries to
complete the three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon as
the Tampa Bay Rays aim for their fifth straight victory.
The Rays, who are in the midst of a 10-game road trip that sees them taking on
Boston for four games and then the New York Yankees next weekend, have gone
from winning 14 of their final 16 games in the first half of the campaign to
picking up another two victories in Toronto, thanks to a narrow 4-3 decision
Wil Myers drove in two runs and Desmond Jennings accounted for three hits and
a pair of runs scored for the Rays as they held on for a victory that now has
them within 1 1/2 games of first place in the AL East, trailing only Boston in
Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson secured his ninth win in 12 decisions as he
permitted two runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out three
through five innings. Fernando Rodney did give up one run in the bottom of the
ninth due to a fielding error, but still was credited with his 23rd save of
Charged with the loss was Mark Buehrle after he yielded 10 hits, leading to
four runs -- three earned -- through seven innings. Buehrle fanned five but
also walked three in the setback.
"Everybody's trying, nobody can pinpoint what's going on," Buehrle said. "I
can't pinpoint what's going on. It's frustrating. Everybody's out there trying
to turn this around, trying to win games. It's just not happening right now."
Jose Bautista connected on his 22nd home run of the season, while Jose Reyes
tallied a pair of hits and scored once for a Toronto group that is sitting in
last place in the AL East, 12 1/2 games out, following their third consecutive
Seeking his third win in as many starts and his fourth victory in a row, Chris
Archer is set to take the mound for the Rays this afternoon to close out the
Getting his first-ever look at Toronto batters during his second major league
season, the right-hander is coming off a shutout in his most recent outing a
week ago. Archer shut down the Houston Astros in a 5-0 victory as he allowed
just five hits and struck out eight in the triumph.
A sixth-round draft pick by the Cleveland Indians in 2006, the North Carolina
native has only been up with the big club since the beginning of June and has
watched Tampa Bay come out on top in each of his last five appearances and six
times in nine outings overall.
As for the Blue Jays, they are hoping R.A. Dickey can again find the magic
that made him such a dominant pitcher with the New York Mets last year, when
he turned in a Cy Young performance with a 20-6 record.
Dickey enters the second half of the season with a mark of 8-10 after losing
his last two outings. The most recent of those appearances took place on July
11 versus Cleveland when he gave up three runs -- two earned -- on six hits
and three walks. The right-handed knuckleballer made it through six innings
and struck out seven.
Dickey won his most recent game against Tampa Bay back on June 26 as he threw
a two-hit shutout on the road. For his career, the Tennessee native has a
record of 3-2 with a 3.75 ERA in six starts and 10 total appearances.
Tampa Bay, which has won the season series each of the last three years, is
now ahead by a count of 7-5 thanks to a fourth victory in the last five
07/21 10:24:12 ET