American League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, May 15th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (22-14) at Toronto Blue Jays (19-17), 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - David Price (5-2, 2.98) Toronto - Henderson Alvarez (3-2, 2.61)
(Sports Network) - Henderson Alvarez continues to put together quality starts for the Blue Jays ever since his rough outing versus the Rays a month ago.
Alvarez tries to win his fourth start in a row this evening as Toronto wraps up a two-game series with Tampa Bay and ace David Price, who looks to rebound after having his own winning streak halted.
The 22-year-old Alvarez is set to make his eighth start of the season and 18th of his career, having allowed just four runs over his last 29 innings spanning four starts. He took a tough-luck defeat in the first contest of that span, but hasn't lost since.
Alvarez won in Minnesota on Thursday, holding the Twins to two runs -- one earned -- on seven hits and three walks over seven innings of a 6-2 triumph, moving to 3-2 on the season with a 2.61 earned run average.
"I felt good out there tonight and the bullpen really backed me up," said Alvarez. "Those guys have been really solid for us lately and that is always big."
The right-hander has rebounded nicely after losing to the Rays for the second time in as many career appearances back on April 19. It was arguably his worst outing of the season as he was touched for a season-high six runs and two homers in 6 1/3 frames.
Price, meanwhile, had a four-start winning streak halted on Thursday with a loss at the Yankees. He was charged with season highs of five runs, 11 hits and two homers, fanning just four one start after striking out 12 in a win over Oakland.
"I thought I pitched a pretty good game," said Price. "Just a few bad throws I made and they (the Yankees) hit them well."
The 26-year-old southpaw dipped to 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA and his recently-ended win streak began with a victory over Toronto on April 18. Though Price pitched just 5 2/3 innings, he only gave up two runs on eight hits of a 12-2 triumph.
Price, the top pick of the 2007 draft, has excellent career numbers against the Blue Jays, going 10-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 13 meetings.
The Rays will count on Price racking up some innings this evening after the bullpen was forced to pitch eight frames in Monday's 7-1 win. Jeff Niemann got the start, but suffered a small fracture in his right fibula after getting hit in the leg by a liner off the bat of Adam Lind in the first.
Niemann finished the inning, but was unable to continue after warming up in the second. After the game, the team stated that he was put in a walking boot and was on crutches and that he would be out 4-to-6 weeks.
"The ball was not hit that sharply so I thought it would just be like a stinger kind of a thing and then he'd be able to walk it off," said Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Five relievers combined to pitch the final eight innings, with Cesar Ramos getting his first career win after giving up one run on two hits with three walks over three innings. The final four pitchers gave up just one hit and two walks over five frames.
Luke Scott and Sean Rodriguez each drove in two runs, while Ben Zobrist hit a solo homer in Tampa Bay's second straight win that featured a six-run fifth inning.
"Once that big inning happened for them it kind of drained us," Blue Jays outfielder Eric Thames said. "We tried to claw our way back but it didn't work out."
Kelly Johnson had two hits and drove in the lone run for the Blue Jays, who have lost three of their last four. Brandon Morrow was touched for six runs -- all but one unearned -- on four hits with four walks and seven strikeout over five innings.
The Rays have won 10 of their past 13 versus the Blue Jays, including two of three at Toronto from April 17-19.
05/15 10:54:21 ET