Game 38 Lineups and Outlook
In tonight’s series finale the Tampa Bay Rays will look to sweep their neo-nemesis the Toronto Blue Jays. These two always play each other so well that the last two games have been a pleasant surprise. The cherry on top would be the sweep as it would even up the wins and losses while putting a boot on Toronto’s face on the climb up the standings. Creating a two game gap would put the Rays on the inside rail and looking to chase down the two in front as we close down this first quarter of the season. It won’t be easy.
The Jays are doing the Rays a favor sitting Donaldson today, but the way he looked in the field last night maybe not. Odorizzi has had a pretty pronounced reverse split for a while and is starting to remind me a lot of James Shields. On days when he has good feel for the curve he can steal strikes, get ahead and then go out of the zone. Pitching backward is completely fine, as Shields showed us, but you have to get ahead or you’re meat. Even without Donaldson the lineup skews right-handed with the result being a bunch of poor matchups for the Rays.
The hitting-side tells a similar downtrodden storyline. Dickey is basically an averagey pitcher that will have as many huge blowups as real gems. Much like his signature knuckler, he is unpredictable, but the model likes him against this Rays lineup. Kiermaier looks like the lone standout, and boy does it seem like he gets up for the games against Pillar and the Blue Jays. It’s fun to watch these guys try to one up each other. The advantage to this lineup, if there is one, is that the Rays bench looks like it should be a real weapon against an exhausted and not all that good pen:
Even with the pinch hit penalty Brad Miller and Big Swingin’ Dickerson offer good options against their righties. Steve Pearce provides a very good weapon against the LOOGY Girodo as I doubt Venditte would pitch tonight after so many pitches yesterday. If it gets late and tight I bet Gibby would have no problem using Osuna and same with Donaldson off the bench. Otherwise there isn’t much here of which to be scared.