After falling victim to the dominance of David Price a day earlier, the Toronto Blue Jays counter with their own ace lefthander as they look to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. Ricky Romero looks for his sixth consecutive victory as he faces off against Rays righthander Wade Davis.
TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, SUN (Tampa Bay), Rogers Sportsnet (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Wade Davis (8-7. 4.28 ERA) vs. Blue Jays LH Ricky Romero (12-9, 2.78 ERA)
Davis has been sensational in back-to-back starts, allowing just three earned runs in 16 innings over that span. He earned a pair of no-decisions, but Tampa Bay won both games and has prevailed in each of his last five starts. Davis is 2-2 with a sparkling 2.93 ERA in six career starts versus the Blue Jays. He last faced them Aug. 4, holding them to three runs over 7 2/3 innings.
Romero was the hottest thing going before his previous start, winning five straight games while allowing a total of four runs in that span. That streak started with an eight-inning, one-hit masterpiece against the Rays back on July 27. The 26-year-old picked up a no-decision last time out after surrendering three runs in six innings against the Kansas City Royals.
ABOUT THE RAYS (73-59): The hill remains steep, but Tampa Bay is still in the hunt in the American League East as the calendar begins to flip over to September. The Rays have won 20 of their last 29 games, but still sit 8 1/2 games back of division-leading Boston and six games behind the runner-up Yankees. Tampa Bay has managed to remain on the fringe of contention thanks to a season-long dominance over the division-rival Blue Jays. The Rays have won the opening three games of this series, five straight overall and 10 of 14 meetings so far in 2010. Tampa is hitting just .212 against Romero but has taken him deep five times.
ABOUT THE BLUE JAYS (66-67): Toronto is coming off one of the worst games it has played all season, striking out a franchise record-tying 18 times in the 12-0 rout. The Jays’ pitching staff has been roasted during the club’s four-game losing skid, surrendering nine homers and 33 total runs in that span. The offense hasn’t been much better; aside from a brief rally in Saturday’s loss, Toronto bats have done little against Tampa Bay’s vaunted pitching staff. J.P. Arencibia and Jose Bautista are the only current Toronto players with home runs off of Davis, who has limited the Jays to a .235 collective average in 115 at-bats.
FINAL PITCH: Tampa Bay has never swept a four-game series against Toronto.