MLB Betting Preview: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Aaron SanchezAfter losing their last two in a row to the Baltimore Orioles, the Jays will look to get back on track against the Tampa Bay Rays who will be hosting the bluebirds for a three-game stretch. After winning the first game, the Jays lost the final two to Baltimore, including a wild 13-9 loss on Sunday.

The Toronto Blue Jays (37-34) who are now warming up at Tampa Bay Rays’ (40-31) Tropicana field, will look to get off on the right foot in Florida with Drew Hutchison’s help. Toronto wil try to close the gap in the American League East tonight against the division-leaders.

Pete Walker and the Blue Jays training staff will assess the health of Aaron Sanchez tonight’s game, as the pitching coach and Blue Jays’ management hope Sanchez can hurry back and be ready to play.

Sanchez coming back from the disabled list means Toronto will have a reliable starting pitcher. This became evident after the Orioles hammered Scott Copeland, a Triple-A callup, for seven runs in 1 1/3 innings on Sunday afternoon. It included eight hits which he allowed and a huge three-run homer by Jimmy Paredes to put the game out of reach.

Baltimore had scored seven runs in the second inning but the Jays were able to answer with six in the home half of the inning. But with a tie score of 9-9 in the ninth, the pressure was too much, and the Orioles were able to pound out four runs and bring it home.

Jose Bautista, Ezequiel Carrera and Kevin Pillar all homered against Toronto in the loss. “I’m proud of the guys. We’ve got a great offense,” said manager John Gibbons. “What we did today was tough to do.”

Sanchez is recovering from a strained latissimus dorsi muscle, a back muscle that attaches to the shoulder. The affected area is below and just behind the armpit, so no one knows when he will be coming back into rotation.

So now the Jays will have to turn to Hutchison, who has won his last three tries and is 6-1 on the year with a 5.33 ERA. He defeated the New York Mets this past Wednesday, allowing only four hits over 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Against the Rays he is not as strong, he’s 2-2 in his last five starts versus the Rays with a 6.31 ERA.

Tampa will counter him with righty Matt Andriese, who picked up a win in relief against Washington his last time out. Andriese had four scoreless innings in that one and improved to 2-1 to go along with a 3.26 ERA.

He’s faced the Jays three times (one start) this year, but hasn’t finished to record a decision. He picked up a save and surrendered four runs in 8 2/3 innings to Toronto. Tampa has won six of its seven matchups with the Jays this season so far and are looking to continue the domination.

Our Pick: Tampa wins the opening game of the three-game series