Game Threat: Jays (63-49) vs. Rays (45-65)

R.A. Dickey
Photo credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

It sure is unusual to have the Tampa Bay Rays in town as something of an afterthought in the AL East race, but that certainly is the situation that the Blue Jays face tonight. That’s not going to make Jake Odorizzi any less tough on the Jays’ struggling hitters, of course. But it’s curious.

And maybe our old friend R.A. Dickey, fresh off a six-hit, one run, five strikeout gem over seven innings in Houston, will continue to make Jays fans forget how badly it is that they seem to want to run it out of town at the first hint of trouble.

He’d better! Because a lineup featuring Upton, Thole, Darrell Ceciliani, and Michael Saunders — who is slashing just .145/.280/.339 since the All-Star break — doesn’t exactly scream offensive breakout waiting to happen.

Of course, those Bautista, Donaldson, Edwin, Tulo, and Travis guys are pretty good, so… maybe!

Scuttlebutt

Another reason the Jays chose to call up Darrell Ceciliani instead of Dalton Pompey? John Lott tweets that Ceciliani has a .965 OPS and nine home runs over his last 38 games, while Pompey is at .674 and 1 over that same span.

Shi Davidi tweets that Kevin Pillar may only need 4-5 days for his sprained thumb to get healthy enough for him to play, but with the Jays running a short bench (because of the six-man rotation, mostly) the club decided to bite the bullet and put him on the DL for a full 15 days. Not ideal, but understandable given the circumstances.

Barry Davis adds that Pillar says that he may use the “oven mitt” style clove when running the bases when he returns from his wrist injury, explaining that he gave up using it last year when it got in the way and he ended up missing a sign.

The great @James_in_to tweets that the Jays are 1-8 this season when playing in their first game at home following a road trip. So… maybe don’t get too excited for tonight. However! He adds that the team is 31-16 in the rest of their home games. Not bad.

TV: Sportsnet
Next Game(s): Tomorrow vs. Tampa Bay, 7:07 PM ET
AL East Standings: BAL (-), TOR (1), BOS (3), NYY (7.5), TBR (18.0)
And now, the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

Devon Travis(R) 2B
Jose Bautista(R) RF
Josh Donaldson(R) 3B
Edwin Encarnacion(R) 1B
Michael Saunders(L) DH
Troy Tulowitzki(R) SS
Darrell Ceciliani(L) LF
Melvin Upton Jr.(R) CF
Josh Thole(L) C
R.A. Dickey RHP

Tampa Bay Rays

Logan Forsythe(R) 2B
Kevin Kiermaier(L) CF
Evan Longoria(R) 3B
Brad Miller(L) 1B
Mikie Mahtook(R) RF
Nick Franklin(S) LF
Steven Souza(R) DH
Tim Beckham(R) SS
Bobby Wilson(R) C
Jake Odorizzi RHP