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Series Preview: The division-leading Rays!

The Blue Jays are coming home following their disappointing six-game road trip. The boys in blue came away with just one win on the trip. After getting swept out of Cleveland, the Blue Jays split their two-game series against the Red Sox. Although, this team did show that they’re actually capable of hitting during their mini-trip to Boston. The Blue Jays scored a combined 13 runs in the two games against the Red Sox.

Freddy Galvis has practically been the only consistent hitter on this team through 13 games. But the Blue Jays finally found some production beyond just Galvis in this series. While Galvis did create six of their 18 hits in the two games, the more important fact is that this team was finally able to record double-digit hits in a single game. However, while this is all positive news for the Blue Jays, they likely won’t find the same success in this series against the Rays. The Rays pitching staff currently leads the league in lowest-ERA, and sits second for the most strikeouts and lowest opponents BA. So it’s safe to say that the Blue Jays will be in for a long series at the plate in this three-game series.

Friday at 7:07 ET

Trent Thornton will make his third-career start in the opener of this series. The Pennsylvanian-native has been spectacular so far this season. In two starts this season, Thornton has only given up two runs on five hits over 10 2/3 innings. He also has recorded 15 strikeouts in those two starts as well. This start against the Rays will be a great test for Thornton, as the Rays currently sit fourth in the American League in hits.

The Rays will go with an opener in game one of this series. Ryne Stanek will make his third start as an opener this season for the Rays. The 27-year-old has pitched in six innings so far this season and has surrendered just one run, three hits and two walks. While also recording seven whiffs. The Rays will have plenty of quality relievers that they will be able to turn to once Stanek comes out of the game. The Blue Jays’ hitters could be in tough in the first game of this series, as the Rays bullpen ranks third in the AL for lowest-ERA at 2.47.

Saturday at 3:07 ET

Clay Buchholz will make his Blue Jays-debut in game two of this series. The former World Series champion missed the start of this season due to an injury he sustained last season while he was with the Diamondbacks. Buchholz suffered a flexor strain in his right forearm last September. During his rehab with the Blue Jays, Buchholz made one start in triple-A that could indicate he’s in for a rough outing against the Rays. He went five innings and gave up four hits, five runs of which all of them came via the long-ball.

Blake Snell will be taking the mound in the second game of this series for the Rays. He’ll be looking to continue his dominate stretch that he’s made in his last two starts. Snell has recorded 24 strikeouts over the last two starts that he’s made. The Cy Young award winner from a season ago, has also only given up one run over his last two starts. So just like with the first game of this series, the Blue Jays will likely find it tough to score runs in this game as well.

Sunday at 1:07 ET

StroShow is still looking for his first win of the season. Marcus Stroman has been everything that the Blue Jays could have hoped for heading into this season. The New York-native is currently pitching with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.232 WHIP through three starts. He has also been able to strikeout 18 batters in 18.2 innings pitched. With little to no run support expected, Stroman will need to focus on locating his pitches effectively if he wants to earn his first win of the season.

One of the most underrated pitchers in the AL will be taking the ball for the Rays in the finale of this series. Charlie Morton has been a big reason as to why the Rays starting rotation has been so dominate to start this season. Through three starts this season, Morton has recorded a 2-0 record along with a 2.25 ERA, 1.063 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched. Blue Jays hitters are likely to struggle against Morton given their performances so far this season, and especially after they have just faced Snell in the game before.