Getting swept is never a fun thing to have happen, but thankfully the Blue Jays only played a two-game mini-series against the Braves. Now, the Blue Jays will have to once again fly down to Tampa Bay and take on the Rays in the ugliest and worst stadium in the entire league.
Coming into this series, the Rays are currently on a bit of a hot-streak. They have won six of their last seven games and have also produced five runs or more in four of those seven games as well. The Rays have also done an excellent job at remaining disciplined at the plate since the start of August. Since then, the Rays have recorded the 2nd-fewest amount of strikeouts. So, the Blue Jays’ pitchers will have to find another way to get the Rays’ hitters out.
Thursday at 7:10 ET
Annoyingly, we’ll all have to watch Trent Thornton take on the Rays through Youtube during this game. At least the league moved on from broadcasting games through Facebook live this season. It also seems like Thornton has faced the Rays more times than any other pitcher this season.
Facing them for the fourth time this season, Thornton will be looking for improved results against the team who’s named after a sea creature. Through his three previous starts against the Rays, Thornton has failed to pitch at least five innings in any of those outings. The 25-year-old has also surrendered a combined 14 runs on 23 hits through his three starts against the Rays as well.
Primarily being used as a bulk option out of the bullpen, Austin Pruitt made his first start of the season during his latest outing against the Indians. Based on his impressive results during that game, Pruitt was an obvious choice for another start before the conclusion of this season.
During that start against the Indians, Pruitt pitched five and 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed just four hits and struck out six as well. The 30-year-old tends to throw a lot of strikes during his outings, as he’s thrown 67% of his pitches for strikes this season. So, that means the Blue Jays’ hitters should look to be aggressive early in counts, to avoid falling behind in their at-bats.
Friday at 7:10 ET
Similar to earlier in the season, Clay Buchholz is once again starting a trend with his pitching lines. The 35-year-old gave up exactly six hits in each of his first four starts of the season. Now, Buchholz has surrendered three hits and two runs in each of his starts since returning from the IL.
Although, Buchholz struggled to locate his pitches effectively during his latest outing against the Astros. During that start, Buchholz allowed five walks and threw just 60% of his pitches for strikes. Since the Rays’ hitters don’t strike out often, that means Buchholz will need to do a better job at locating his pitches within the strike zone during this game.
In just his first season, Brendan McKay has struggled mightily at times this season. Home runs have been a massive problem for the former 4th-overall selection back in 2017. McKay currently owns a 2.0 HR/9 and has surrendered a total of six home runs over his last four starts.
While the long ball has troubled McKay, creating strikeouts is certainly something he hasn’t had a problem with this season. The 23-year-old is currently pitching with a 10.3 SO/9 and has produced five strikeouts or more in five of his last six starts.
Saturday at 6:10 ET
The Blue Jays have decided to recall another one of their top pitching prospects to make his MLB-debut during this game. Anthony Kay, (who was acquired in the Stro-Show trade) has lowered his ERA in each of his starts since coming over from the Mets’ organization.
When he first arrived to Buffalo, Kay brought over his 6.51 ERA that he recorded through seven starts with the Syracuse Mets. Following his seven starts with the Bisons, Kay has now lowered that ERA to 4.41. Since being acquired, the 24-year-old has done a great job at limiting the number of hits allowed and creating impressive amounts of strikeouts as well, as Kay has recorded a .244 OPP AVG and a 9.8 SO/9.
During this past offseason, not many teams wanted to handout a multi-year contract to Charlie Morton. Luckily for the Rays, they were one of the few teams that desperately wanted the 35-year-old. Morton has rewarded the Rays with his dominating performance this season.
Through his 29 starts, Morton is tied for the 3rd-best ERA(3.06) and owns the lowest FIP(2.79) and HR/9(0.7) in the AL this season. Morton also dominated the Blue Jays during his start against them back on Aug. 5. During that game, Morton held the Blue Jays’ lineup to just two runs on seven hits and set nine of their batters down on strikes.
Sunday at 1:10 ET
Consistency with the location of his pitches was a problem once again for Jacob Waguespack during his latest outing against the Braves. The 25-year-old was removed from the game after the fourth inning with a pitch count of 87. Waguespack held the Braves to four runs,(two earned) and a single hit through his four innings of work.
His pitch count escalated so quickly because of the five base-on-balls Waguespack issued during the game. Recently, consistent location has been something that has hindered Waguespack from pitching deeper into games. Over his last two starts, Waguespack has failed to pitch beyond the fourth inning in each of his outings.
Since mid-August, Ryan Yarbrough has been outstanding in a starting role for the Rays. During his five starts since Aug. 11, Yarbrough has pitched six innings or more in four of those five starts, and has given up no more than four runs in any of those starts as well.
Yarbrough has surrendered a home run in each of his previous two starts coming into this game. Since the Blue Jays have hit the 5th-most home runs in the AL since the All-Star break, they’ll need to capitalize when Yarbrough misses with the location of his pitches within the strike zone.