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Rays-Blue Jays Preview: Jake Odorizzi vs Nick Tepesch

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Jake Odorizzi takes the mound as the Rays offense tries to wake up in Toronto

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the Rays begin a pivotal four-game series at Rogers Centre against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Rays (59-60) currently sit 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins for the 2nd Wild Card spot and will look to bounce back after losing three out of four to the Cleveland Indians.

The Blue Jays (56-61) currently sit at the bottom of the AL East but only 3.5 games out of the 2nd wild card spot. That may not seem like much, but considering there are eight teams in front of them in the wild card race, it suggests to be a tough task to overcome this late in the season. Nonetheless, they have been playing well lately and will look to build off a series win against Pittsburgh.

Tonight's game will be televised on Fox Sports Sun. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.

Starting Pitchers

Jake Odorizzi

He was diagnosed with a foot contusion after leaving Wednesday's contest due to a Eduardo Nunez line drive, which marked the second straight contest, and third in four starts, that Odorizzi hasn't last past the fifth inning.

Odorizzi has struggled in 2017, compiling a 6-5 record in 19 starts along with a 4.38 ERA that serves as the highest he's generated in his Rays career.

He has excelled vs. RHB’s, posting a .227/.299/.463 slash-line to hitters from the right side of the plate. He’s fared adequately against lefties, posting a 250/.315/.481 slash-line from the left side of the plate.

Odorizzi has made three starts against Toronto this season, posting a 2-0 record with a 3.77 ERA in 17.1 innings pitched.

Nick Tepesch

The right-hander has made one start apiece for the Blue Jays and Twins this season, compiling a 0-2 record with a 9.00 ERA in six innings pitched.

His last start came against the Yankees on Wednesday, in which he was knocked around for five runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Before his call-up with the Blue Jays, he had a lowly 5.88 ERA in 49 minor league innings this year. So, yeah, this suggests to be the perfect opportunity for Rays bats to wake the hech (pun intended) up.

In a miniscule sample size (so take it with a grain of salt) Tepesch has gotten destroyed by right handed batters this season, posting a .471/.550/1.059 slash-line against hitters from the right side of the plate. He hasn't been much better against lefties, allowing a .333/.333/.733 slash-line to hitters from the left side of the plate.

Go crazy, Rays bats. And please, please snap out of your funk.

Starting Lineups

Today's Lineups

TAMPA BAY RAYS TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Corey Dickerson - LF Jose Bautista - RF
Lucas Duda - 1B Josh Donaldson - 3B
Evan Longoria - 3B Justin Smoak - 1B
Logan Morrison - DH Kendrys Morales - DH
Steven Souza - RF Steve Pearce - LF
Brad Miller - 2B Ryan Goins - SS
Wilson Ramos - C Kevin Pillar - CF
Peter Bourjos - CF Raffy Lopez - C
Daniel Robertson - SS Rob Refsnyder - 2B
Jake Odorizzi - RHP Nick Tepesch - RHP