The Tampa Bay Rays have won back-to-back games for the first time since opening August with three in a row and look to continue their revival when the Toronto Blue Jays visit for the second of three contests Wednesday night. Kevin Kiermaier has given the Rays a boost since returning from a two-month stint on the disabled list while going 7-for-17 with a homer, three RBIs and three runs scored in four games.
Tampa Bay, which sits four games back in the race for the American League’s second wild card, has picked it up on offense with 15 runs in the last three games and Wilson Ramos has warmed up with 14 hits in his last seven contests. Right-hander Austin Pruitt tries to keep it going for the Rays and Toronto counters with ace Marcus Stroman, who is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts against Tampa Bay in 2017. The Blue Jays are fading out of the AL wild card race with four straight losses to start their road trip after leaving the tying run at third base with one out in Tuesday’s 6-5 setback. Josh Donaldson continued his assault on Rays pitching with a solo homer in the series opener - his seventh blast and 11th RBI against Tampa Bay this year.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, TVA Sports, Sportsnet (Toronto), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (11-6, 2.99 ERA) vs. Rays RH Austin Pruitt (6-4, 5.37)
Stroman boasts three straight quality starts and six in his last eight games overall after limiting Tampa Bay to two runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings last Wednesday. The 26-year-old Duke product has given up one home run total in his last 10 outings after surrendering three in back-to-back starts June 17 and 22. Corey Dickerson is 8-for-24 with two homers versus Stroman, who is 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 career starts against the Rays.
Pruitt registered a career-high seven innings last time out against Seattle, but allowed six runs on 11 hits and two walks in his second straight loss. The 27-year-old rookie had strung together three consecutive quality starts before his last game while permitting four runs and 16 hits over 18 1/3 innings combined in that span. Kevin Pillar homered against Pruitt, who is 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA in three relief outings versus Toronto.
1. Pillar was ejected after his first at-bat in Tuesday’s contest and saw his six-game hitting streak (10-for-23) come to an end.
2. Tampa Bay 1B-DH Lucas Duda boasts six homers since he was acquired on July 28 - the most of anyone on the club in that stretch.
3. Toronto RF Jose Bautista has 31 career homers in 152 games versus the Rays, but is just 9-for-55 with 21 strikeouts against them in 2017.
PREDICTION: Blue Jays 5, Rays 3