American League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 19th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (6-6) at Toronto Blue Jays (6-5), 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (1-0, 3.29) Toronto - Henderson Alvarez (0-0, 2.77)
(Sports Network) - Reigning American League Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson looks for a return to the winning side of things tonight when the Tampa Bay Rays visit Rogers Centre to wrap up a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Hellickson, who won 13 games in 29 starts and posted a stingy 2.95 earned run average in 2011, debuted with a 2012 flourish on April 8, allowing three hits in 8 2/3 scoreless innings of a 3-0 defeat of the New York Yankees.
He couldn't keep it going six days later against Boston at Fenway Park and was chased after five innings, getting a no-decision following a seven-hit, five- run performance that included a single strikeout and three walks.
The 25-year-old Iowa native won his lone decision against Toronto in two previous starts and carries a 4.26 ERA against the Blue Jays after 12 2/3 innings of 11-hit, seven-run work.
In 41 major-league appearances, opposition hitters have managed just a .213 average.
On Wednesday, Matt Joyce belted two doubles, a solo home run and scored three times as the Rays took a 12-2 decision over the Blue Jays.
Ben Zobrist cranked a two-run blast in the first, Sean Rodriguez added a solo shot in the sixth and Luke Scott crushed a grand slam in the ninth.
Starter David Price (2-1) scattered eight hits and surrendered two runs over 5 2/3 innings for the Rays, who had lost five of six coming into the game.
Brandon Morrow (0-1) was charged for six runs in the loss after giving up eight hits and three walks over a six-inning start. Yunel Escobar tallied four hits and Jeff Mathis registered a solo homer as Toronto had its brief two-game winning streak halted.
Going for the series win for the Blue Jays is precocious right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who turned 22 on Wednesday and will make the 13th start of a major-league career that began in 2011.
The Colombian-born Alvarez won one of four decisions across 10 starts with Toronto last season and allowed an opposition batting average of .262 while surrendering 25 earned runs and striking out 40 in 63 2/3 innings.
Alvarez has a pair of no-decisions to show for two starts in 2012 - both Blue Jays losses - and has given up 10 hits and four runs in 13 innings.
He lost his lone start against Tampa Bay last season after the Rays touched him for four runs on four hits - including three home runs - in six innings.
Tampa was 12-6 versus the Jays last season.
04/19 10:45:50 ET