Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays Preview 8/3/22

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays Preview 8/3/22

Barry Devoe
6 months ago
3 min read
Rays shortstop Taylor Walls singles against the Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays took the first game of their series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, thanks in large part to their pitching. On Wednesday, the two American League East teams face off again, as they continue to fight in the American League Wild Card race. With both teams using pitchers that are not at the top of their rotations, this game could go either way in Tampa Bay.

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Toronto Blue Jays

Going into Wednesday night, the Toronto Blue Jays have won three games in a row, including their series opener against the Rays. Toronto has won 11 of its last 13 games, which has put them clearly in second place in the AL East. More importantly, the Blue Jays are four games ahead of the rest of the field in the AL Wild Card race, as they have positioned themselves nicely for a trip to the postseason.

On Wednesday night, the Blue Jays will send Yusei Kikuchi to the mound to try and silence the Rays bats once again. Kikuchi comes into this contest with a 4-5 record and an ERA of 4.89 in 70 innings of work on the season. This will be his second start since being out for a little over three weeks in July, with Kikuchi giving up just one run in five innings of work against Detroit last week.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays have been struggling of late, dropping two straight contests and four of their last five. That slide has moved them out of the top-two in the Wild Card chase, as they are a game back of the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot going into Wednesday’s slate. Here, the Rays will rely on their bullpen to do the job from start to finish from a pitching perspective.

Reliever Jalen Beeks is set to start this game for the Rays, as he looks to build on a strong July. Beeks made five appearances for Tampa Bay in the month of July, and gave up just one run in 8.2 innings of work during the month. Compared to a month of June where he gave up seven runs in 12.1 innings, Beeks may have turned a corner this season, which could be huge for Tampa down the stretch.

Keys To The Game

For Toronto, the biggest key to this game is getting their offense going early against the Tampa Bay bullpen. The Jays are going to see a lot of different arms in this game, meaning that they will need to be more patient than they would be against a starter going a long distance in a game. That may be easier to do after a win last night than it would have been after a loss.

For the Rays, run support for their bullpen is going to be huge in this game. The Rays have been struggling to put runs on the board of late, something they cannot afford to do when their bullpen is slated to go the distance here. Against a pitcher who is more than capable of being hit in Kikuchi, Tampa Bay has to take advantage of its opportunities.

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