Game 36 Lineups and Outlook
In today’s adventure the Tampa Bay Rays will attempt to get back on the horse that so rudely bucked them off. To be fair, it was not the horse’s fault that it’s master got so goddam rum drunk that he couldn’t find the stirrup from the saddle. With a night to sleep it off maybe today will be better. One can only hope.
It’s a bit surprising to see the Rays attack Happ with virtually an all righty lineup. Happ is around league average against righties, but has a reverse split due to the change up being his most effective pitch, such that, lefties hit him around 5% better than average. Tampa Bay has handled lefties not named Sale this year pretty well so far be it for me to judge. Vegas has this priced nearly perfectly as we both see the Jays as a slight favorite. This is due to that murder’s row they boast from two through four in the lineup. You can’t sleep on the other guys, but those three, especially in this park, cannot be allowed to get rolling.
The biggest key for the Rays in this series will be getting to what is an even worse pen than they, themselves, can claim. Check these names out:
It’s like they did a reverse Christopher Columbus going to Italy to conscript half of their bullpen. Girodo is the only lefty with Cecil going on the disabled list, and he looks like someone that should not be feared. Osuna is legit, and Chavez, Floyd and Storen should all put up a fight, but the more that the Rays can face those three back end arms that the Jays will do everything to hide the better.
The lack of depth is also readily apparent on their bench as none of those guys should be starting for a contending team. The Blue Jays are more stars and scrubs right now than they even were last season. The best way to combat that is to parry the talent and feast on whatever is left. As such, this first game will be of heightened importance for the Rays. If they can strike early and often to drive Happ from the game then they’re going to get a chance to dictate the tempo of the series. This is a legitimate chance to make up for some lost ground over the last week plus with the counter also proving true. Perform poorly here and it’s a chance to really start to slide down the hill with handholds becoming fewer and fewer.