American League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, September 23rd (All times Eastern)
Toronto Blue Jays (66-84) at Tampa Bay Rays (82-70), 1:40 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Toronto - Chad Jenkins (0-1, 4.91) Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 3.31)
(Sports Network) - Reigning American League Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson winds down his second season in the majors today when the Tampa Bay Rays host the Toronto Blue Jays in the finale of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Hellickson was 13-10 with a 2.95 earned run average in his initial full season in the big leagues, but has struggled with run support for much of 2012 while winning just eight of 18 decisions -- in spite of a 3.31 ERA.
He's failed in five tries at win No. 9 since his last victory against Kansas City on Aug. 20, when he allowed a run on six hits in seven innings.
He's 0-2 with three no-decisions since while the Rays have been outscored, 17-13.
He last faced Toronto on Aug. 31 and dropped a 2-1 decision after giving up just two runs on four hits in six innings.
In five career starts against the Blue Jays, he is 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA.
On Saturday, Evan Longoria belted a three-run homer, one of four long balls hit by the Rays in an 11-5 thrashing of the Blue Jays.
Desmond Jennings went 3-for-3 with a solo homer and scored four times. Jose Molina added three hits, including a solo homer. B.J. Upton also went deep, as the Rays won their fourth in a row, although time is dwindling for their playoff chances.
With 10 contests remaining, Tampa Bay is 3 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second AL wild card spot.
Adam Lind knocked in three runs for the Blue Jays, losers of five straight contests.
The Rays have scored 43 times during their winning streak, the best run production over a four-game span in club history.
Burke Badenhop (3-2) replaced Rays starter Matt Moore after just 2 2/3 innings and recorded four outs to get the win.
Brandon Morrow (8-7) was touched for five runs over four innings, and Brad Lincoln imploded in the fifth by giving up six hits and as many runs while getting only two outs.
Tampa Bay is 13-4 this season against the Blue Jays and has won its last seven at home against them.
Toronto starts rookie righty Chad Jenkins, who opens a game for the first time after 10 consecutive relief outings.
The 24-year-old allowed two hits and no runs through his first five outings across seven innings, but has been scored upon at least once in each of his last five performances.
He tossed five innings against the Rays on Sept. 2 and was touched for seven hits and two runs in Tampa Bay's 9-4 win.
Overall, in 18 1/3 innings, Jenkins has allowed 21 hits and 10 runs with six walks and eight strikeouts, allowing a .280 opposition batting average.
09/23 10:43:00 ET