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Series Preview: Time to pounce on the Rays

The Blue Jays currently have a golden opportunity to take advantage of the Rays during this three-game series. As it stands, the Rays are currently 0.5 games back of the second wild-card spot in the AL. They also just lost their ace pitcher until mid-September. Which means the Rays are down to just one reliable starting pitcher.

So, it appears that the Blue Jays can put the Rays in a really tough spot with a series win. The Blue Jays could also look very different following this weekend series. With the trade deadline taking place on Wednesday, the Blue Jays front office will likely have a very busy weekend. Hopefully, this current Blue Jays roster can put together one more successful series, before players start to be shipped off to further this rebuild.

Friday at 7:07 ET

Jacob Waguespack has earned another start with the Blue Jays following his latest-outing. The 25-year-old started his 2nd-career game in the majors against the Tigers and pitched a career-high five and 1/3 innings. Waguespack surrendered just three runs on nine hits and also tied his career-high with seven strikeouts.

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The Rays have struggled to remain disciplined at the plate coming out of the all-star break. As they currently have struck out the 5th-most among teams in the AL since that time. Waguespack created seven strikeouts against the Rays in his outing earlier this season. Which means he’ll have a very good chance to record similar results against these Rays in this game.

Go Diego Go will be making his first-start of the season for the Rays in this game. Diego Castillo is primarily a late-inning reliever out of the bullpen. But, the Rays don’t have many options to start games for them with Snell out for multiple weeks. Which means they’ll likely ask Dora’s cousin to pitch multiple innings before they hand the ball off to another one of their pitchers out of the bullpen.

Castillo last pitched on July 23, which means he should be fully capable of pitching multiple innings to start the game. Through 38 appearances this season, the 25-year-old is pitching with a 3.96 ERA, 1.345 WHIP and a 10.0 SO/9.

Saturday at 3:07 ET

Ryan Borucki probably wasn’t too overjoyed with the results from his first-start of the season. But, the most-important thing was that Borucki was able to come away from the game healthy. Although, he did give Blue Jays fans a little scare during his start. The 25-year-old appeared to sustain a popped blister during his start against the Indians. Which definitely had most people immediately thinking about all the nagging finger issues that Aaron Sanchez has already sustained in his career.

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However, Borucki appears to be fine and he shouldn’t have any problems during this start against the Rays. Borucki will likely be looking to pitch more efficiently in this start compared to his latest-one. The 15th-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2012 allowed four walks in his outing against the Indians.

The Rays have yet to name any kind of pitcher who they want to start this game for them. This will certainly be a bullpen game for them since they have just one starter who isn’t even going to pitch in this series. Which makes it much more difficult to predict who the Rays will decide to go with in this game.

Ryan Yarbrough last started for the Rays on July 20 against the White Sox. In that start against the White Sox, Yarbrough went six innings and allowed just a pair of hits. So let’s hope the Rays decide to go with a Ryan vs Ryan matchup in this game.

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Sunday at 1:07 ET

Unfortunately, Youtube isn’t able to cover another one of Aaron Sanchez’s starts. Which is a shame since Sanchez recorded his best-start of the entire season during Youtube’s broadcast last time out. Sanchez went five innings and gave up just one run on five hits.

Sanchez also didn’t allow a single walk for the first time in nearly three years. The last time Sanchez didn’t allow a walk in a game was during his start against the Diamondbacks on July 19, 2016. That stat absolutely blows my mind and totally puts in perspective how badly Sanchez has struggled since the 2016 season.

Thankfully, the Rays were able to name a pitcher to start this game. Yonny Chirinos will be making his 10th-start since June 1 for the Rays. During that time, Chirinos has held opposing teams to just three runs or fewer in eight of those ten starts.

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Chirinos has also created five or more strikeouts through nine of his last ten starts as well. In his start against the Blue Jays during May, Chirinos held a no-hitter through five innings against them. However, Chirinos has given up a home run in three of his last four starts. The Blue Jays record the majority of their runs via the home run. Which means if they’re going to score runs off of Chirinos, they’ll likely have to do it through the lone ball.