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Game 23 Preview: Tampa Bay Rays vs Toronto Blue Jays

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The Rays hope to bounce back and even up the series tonight behind their ace

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After yesterday's loss to the home run battering Blue Jays, the Rays fell two games under .500 at 10-12. while the Blue Jays improved to 11-13. Both teams are currently tied for 3rd in the AL East, four games back of the Baltimore Orioles, who lead the division with a record of 14-8.

A couple of tidbits to watch for in tonight's game.

  • Once Archer records five outs, he'll surpass Matt Garza for the fifth most innings pitched in team history. Also, if Archer is awarded a victory tonight, he'll tie Garza for the eighth most in team history with 34 wins.
  • Logan Morrison on the verge of completing the worst offensive month of April in team history. He currently has an OPS of .290, putting him behind Nick Green's .298 -- minimum of 20 plate appearances
  • A couple of streaks heading into tonight's game: Logan Forsythe has a three game hitting streak (5-10), and Brandon Guyer hasn't struck out in his last seven games.

Today's Starting Pitchers:

2016 W L ERA FIP K% BB% BABIP AVG HR fWAR GS IP
J.A. Happ 3 0 2.42 4.03 12.6% 5.8% .288 .263 2 0.3 4 26
Chris Archer 1 4 5.47 4.36 31.7% 8.9% .433 .313 6 0.2 5 26.1

Chris Archer finally rebounded from his horrendous beginning of the season to salvage a quality outing and his first victory of the year on the 25th as he provided close to seven full innings of shutout ball, allowing just five hits while he struck out 10 and didn't walk a batter. It will be interesting to see how he utilizes the change-up this time out as that pitch was the main proponent for his success.

J.A. Happ Scouting Report:

Happ has been excellent this year for the Blue Jays and has easily been one of their better starting pitchers as he's averaged six and half innings per game, delivering two seven inning outings his past two times out on the hill. He made his first start of the year back on 6th against the Rays, giving up two runs on seven hits over six innings. His last time out was on the 23rd against the Athletics where he picked up his third victory of the season as he completed seven innings, giving up a season high three runs on seven hits.

His arsenal:

PITCH VELOCITY FREQUENCY vs LHB vs RHB
Fastball Low 90's

66.7% vs LHB

***

30.5% vs RHB

Pitches diagonally in the zone from up and in, to low and away Tends to stay middle-away
Sinker Low 90's

11.1% vs LHB

***

28.7% vs RHB

Sporadic Low and away, sometimes off the plate or below the zone
Cutter Mid 80's

13.0% vs LHB

***

18.1% vs RHB

Low and away from the zone Low and inside, off the plate
Change Mid 80's

0.0% vs LHB

***

9.4% vs RHB

Non-existent Anywhere below the zone
Curveball High 70's

9.3% vs LHB

***

13.1% vs RHB

Low and away from the zone Anywhere below the zone

His splits:

2016 TBF wOBA AVG OBP SLG HR K% BB%
vs LHB 14 .288 .250 .357 .250 0 7.1% 14.3%
vs RHB 89 .313 .265 .315 .398 2 13.5% 4.5%
HOME 53 .328 .292 .358 .375 1 9.4% 7.6%
AWAY 50 .290 .234 .280 .383 1 16.0% 4.0%

Today's Lineups

TORONTO BLUE JAYS TAMPA BAY RAYS
Michael Saunders - LF Logan Forsythe - 2B
Josh Donaldson - 3B Brandon Guyer - RF
Jose Bautista - RF Evan Longoria - 3B
Edwin Encarnacion - DH Steve Pearce - 1B
Troy Tulowitzki - SS Steven Souza - DH
Justin Smoak - 1B Desmond Jennings - LF
Kevin Pillar - CF Tim Beckham - SS
Ryan Goins - 2B Kevin Kiermaier - CF
Josh Thole - C Curt Casali - C
J.A. Happ - LHP Chris Archer - RHP