MLB Match-Up Tuesday – Jays try to stay alive in Tampa Bay

by Neil Jordan on August 25, 2008

The Toronto Blue Jays still have an outside shot of snatching the wild-card spot in the American League, but they lost a great chance to make up ground on Boston by dropping two of three to the Red Sox at home on the weekend. The Blue Jays will turn to their ace when they head to Tropicana Field on Tuesday to kick off a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays, who are starting to run away with the East crown.

Toronto Blue Jays Tampa Bay Rays – 7:10 PM ET
Roy Halladay (15-9, 2.68) finally got some run support from his offense in a 14-3 rout of the Yankees at home, but as usual “Doc” also held up his end of the bargain by allowing three runs on five hits over seven innings, striking out nine and walking two. Halladay would have at least three to four more victories if his offense were more consistent, and that puts a lot of pressure on the 2003 Cy Young winner. However, Halladay has not fared well against the Rays this season, losing all three of his starts with an ERA of 5.32.

James Shields (11-7, 3.68) went eight innings to earn the win as the Rays doubled the Angels 4-2 at home, giving up a pair of runs on nine hits, along with seven strikeouts and a single walk. If there was a negative to this outing, it is that Shields gave up a homer for the third consecutive start. But much like the rest of his young team, the 26-year-old refuses to give up and the Tampa Bay staff has been very good about letting their players play through any trouble they get into. Shields has posted a 2-1 record against the Blue Jays in three starts with an impressive ERA of 2.53.

The Rays have dominated the Blue Jays in 2008, winning ten of their 12 meetings to date. You would think that Halladay will eventually beat the Rays, but not in Tampa Bay, where the Rays have a AL-best 47 wins and Shields is 8-1 with a 2.21 ERA. Take the Rays to open this series with a win on Tuesday.

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