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Game #160 Preview: Blue Jays @ Rays

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in 22 years, the Blue Jays roll into the final series of the regular season knowing that they'll still be playing baseball next week. The Tampa Bay Rays on the other hand are stuck in a three-way tie for third in the division and will hope to put some wins together to lock up a respectable position...or they'll try to tank this weekend to jump two draft slots over their division rivals. It was only a few days ago that Josh Donaldson walked off against the Rays in Toronto on a warm Sunday afternoon, a win that capped a weekend sweep in the final regular season home series of the year for the Blue Jays.

Mark Buehrle will be looking to go 8.2 innings tonight to reach the 200 IP milestone, something that seems very unlikely at this point. Opposing him on the mound will be Erasmo Ramirez, who has been a nice surprise for the Rays this year in the rotation. The right-hander started the year splitting time between starting and relieving, with some awful appearances to show for it. On April 15, Ramirez started in Toronto and allowed eight earned runs in just 3.1 innings pitched. Once he was finally stretched out and given a starting spot for good on May 14, the Nicaraguan began to dominate and has put up a good amount of outings with no runs allowed as well as a 2.99 ERA since that date. The only downside to Rodriguez is that he has struggled to go deep into games all year and has only eclipsed 100 pitches in two outings this season.

The 5'11" right-hander throws a fastball and slider against same-handed batters, while LHH see the fastball and changeup most of the time. He doesn't blow anyone away, although his off-speed pitches are solid and he's currently sitting at a K-rate of 19.2% on the season. In a Rays rotation that features a lot of question marks beyond Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer, the team will certainly be happy to keep the cost-controlled Ramirez around for as long as he continues to perform like he did this season.

You can see how he racks up the strikeouts with his changeup and slider in this video:

Hopeful Lineup

Despite the good chance of some Blue Jays players nursing a two-day hangover, it's time to stop the funny business and get the regulars back in the lineup.

  1. Ben Revere LF
  2. Josh Donaldson 3B
  3. Jose Bautista RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion DH
  5. Justin Smoak 1B
  6. Russell Martin C
  7. Ryan Goins SS
  8. Kevin Pillar CF
  9. Darwin Barney 2B

Bullpen Usage

All of the high-leverage guys will be well-rested for tonight's game, but the September call-ups have been heavily used in the past two days.

Find the Link

Find the link between Erasmo Ramirez and the man who is second on the HR list this year.